Christians have a particular problem when making choices about our film intake. Some proclaim that only the movies with a distinctly “Christian” label and plot are allowed – they will watch only films like “Facing the Giants” or the “God’s Not Dead” franchise. Others swing in the opposite direction and watch anything indiscriminately.
While not quite indiscriminate, my film habits could use some finessing to follow the Phillippians 4:8 mandate – films that are lovely, true, just, commendable. Thus, the film-watching path I’m striving to walk centers around a question: What movies point me toward Jesus?
This doesn’t narrow my options to be just movies that may have sub-par cinematography, but at least the characters quote Scripture. In fact, this question points to a lot of films. And, not all of them are happy or allowable around children – some of them are gritty, hard to handle.
I recently saw Liam Neeson’s “The Marksman” in theaters. This movie, while hard to stomach, made me think hard thoughts about how I as a Christian should approach our immigration system and how I should love my neighbor. It made me want to “do justice” like the call of Micah 6:8. It pointed toward the fact that God is just.
One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” While I don’t walk away from viewings of this movie with hard questions or grand thoughts, I walk away still thinking about Christ. That is because the cinematography of this film is astounding – beautiful shots, the perfect soundtrack, a creative plot. The visual storytelling makes me think of my creative God, the one who spoke into being the very places in nature the movie shows us.
There are certainly movies that Christians should avoid – movies riddled with explicit sexual content, gratuitous violence for the sake of gratuitous violence, and that only exist to numb the soul and kill the brain cells. But that doesn’t mean that we are limited to Kirk Cameron movies for the rest of our lives. Even the gritty films that expose realities of mankind that we would prefer not to think about can point us to Christ. We should seek to watch stories that point to a better Storyteller in some way, shape, or form.