Movie Review | Noah
The story of Noah remade for a secular audience.
Paramount pictures | March 2014
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins
The first trailer I saw of Noah was a long time ago. It was the trailer they showed at a Christian conference that had 'Spirit break out' by Kim Walker-Smith in the background. I could feel the excitement of the Holy Spirit at the possibility that the Bible was being brought to the big screen. My thought process: Bible + big actors + a lot of money on marketing = lots of people watching it and getting saved! Awesome! Then the real trailer came out, 'Spirit break out' not included, and I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit moving in me at all.
Looking back, the Holy Spirit was only moving the first time because 'Spirit break out' just does that. You could be watching grass grow while listening to 'Spirit break out' and all of a sudden BAM, you’re on the ground having the revelation of how beautiful and purposefully designed grass is. That song can just do that to you.
I had figured that it wasn’t going to be 100% Biblically accurate, but there was still a part of me that wanted to support anything Bible based. I was in an uncomfortable gray area where I hadn’t made my mind up on what I believed. It wasn’t a fun place to be in. I hadn’t read any reviews or interviews from the director yet, so I went into the movie still full of hope and with no preconceived notions about it.
I got to the theater and sat down. I had snuck in my gummie bears (I’m feeling convicted now. Dang you, seared conscience), gotten comfy in my reserved seat, and the movie began...
The longer I was in the theater the heavier my heart got. There was no specific scene that made me outraged, but I could feel the Holy Spirit’s verdict pile up in my spirit. It wasn’t approval. It wasn’t saying “We are in the spotlight! The Bible is on the big screen, finally someone noticed us!” All the “gray area” of whether I thought it was good to portray a story from the Bible, even if it wasn’t 100% accurate, was gone.
I was feeling physically warm and sick to my stomach (might have had something to do with the illegal bag of gummy bears I consumed, but I doubt it). In all honesty, the Holy Spirit told me to leave. I kept on asking if I was actually hearing His voice or if I was just making it up. Funny how “confusing” and “hard to discern” the Holy Spirit is once it’s telling you to do something out of your comfort zone. I payed $20 for the movie, I was with friends, and although I wasn’t enjoying myself, it was still weird to leave halfway through. But when I finally did, I felt a huge amount of peace return.
We should set a goal of being so consumed by the person of Jesus, discernment just happens. Keep Him in your thoughts. Know His ways. Invite Him with you everywhere you go. Intimacy keeps us safe.
As for Noah, here is how I feel about it…
1. God doesn’t need a director, special effects, new script, and A list stars to make His story more entertaining. The Bible isn’t here for us to twist or adjust to meet our needs. It is there for us to follow and take exactly as it is.
2. He doesn’t need someone portraying who He is, especially to those who don’t know Him, unless they are going to do it right. Don’t bother. He is worth more than that. Misrepresenting a Father to His children is not okay. Especially when His true character is flawless.
3. He doesn’t need the publicity unless you’re going to do it right. No advertisement at all is better than a false one.
And my last point is, don’t be mad at people who don’t know Him when they do all the things above. They don’t know better. In all honesty, when things like this happen, I am not surprised or outraged. The world is broken and has no idea what kind of a Father God is. As a Christian, it just raises my awareness for the amount of love God wants to show to the world. And as a follower, I get to be a carrier of that love.
So how should we respond?
Getting angry at Hollywood won’t do anything. Are you mad at the movie Noah? Good! Go tell everyone the truth! But that can only be done out of love – or else WE become the problem. Hollywood is making money. They don’t care if people are upset about the way they portrayed God, because they didn’t make the movie to represent someone they are in love with. So while I would say to Christians, don’t spend money on it, I do encourage you to have as many conversations with people who saw it as you can. It’s a great chance to say “Yeah that had great graphics but let me tell you the real story of the Creator. It beats anything Hollywood can produce, and the amazing thing is- it isn’t fake.“
For an authoritative discussion about the movie and its origins in the teachings of Kabbalah, check out Dr Brian Mattson's blog, 'Sympathy for the Devil': http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil