Somehow it was movie weekend. Just worked out that way. My wife and I saw Nonstop. (“Non” is a prefix in English. Hyphens are not required for prefixes.)
Nonstop was as good as expected. It is a relatively decent even-paced thriller that gave good twists and turns. Overall, recommended.
Then we saw Divergent. My daughter says the book is much better than the movie, but she thought the movie did well enough. She agrees it was good and recommended as well. Note that Divergent is a romance at the core. It is a dystopian thriller, yes, but mostly it is about the triumph of love. Quite enjoyable. The backstory was too superficial for me to ignore, but it wasn’t very distracting. Being an engineer is not conducive to movie watching. Oh well. Overall good show. Well acted.
Finally, we took the boys to see God’s Not Dead. Joseph is a fan of the Newsboys, particularly the God’s Not Dead song, and the movie promises to be talked about enough to think it worth watching just to know what is being talked about.
I think if this wasn’t such an openly religious movie, the headlines would include, “Feel-good hit of the year!” Really. It was excellent all around.
I am confident that those who want to throw stones will find plenty to work with. Still, I don’t find anything objectionable. The theology was sound, at least from my Wesleyan perspective, though it sure didn’t appear there was any effort to be Wesleyan. I suspect there was an effort to be nonsectarian. The main story was simple faith and providence. I’ll refrain from details because I don’t want to give anything away.
It pulled in several modern difficulties and dealt with none of them deeply but all of them well! It was a word-to-the-wise type of approach. The overall effect could hardly have been better.
It was quite intricate. One does have to pay attention. No one moved when the movie ended. Part of it was that it was not obvious that it ended. The credit screen immediately started listing the legal cases that influenced the content of movie, and it was obviously a composite of some number of such cases, and probably some good invention.
The other factor that obviously kept everyone seated at the end was that it was quite emotional. It seemed no one wanted to move. I suppose the bits that affected me most will not be the same for others, but I truly believe everyone will find scenes that speak to them and touch their emotions. I don’t mind admitting I cried some. I wasn’t the only one.
I honestly expect this is the kind of movie that everyone can go and enjoy. Sure, it will make some uncomfortable, but it is not preachy. It takes an honest look within. If you aren’t intentionally running from God, you should find this to be the kind of movie that reaffirms you. It deals with sadness and bad things straight up. It shows that among the hard things in life, God is there.
The bottom line of the movie was close to my own bottom line. There is much evidence that supports belief in God, but even the Bible says that faith is required, that one must believe. There are no easy answers, and this movie didn’t pretend to offer any. It left a lot of questions unanswered, but it offered hope and encouragement.
Belief is a choice. The movie set that down simply. Believe or don’t. It is your choice. Everyman must make the choice. No one can do it for him, and no one must be allowed to coerce the choice in any direction. Even though I am a Christian and truly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I am certain that God alone is the judge, and no heart answers to anyone but God, the judge. CS Lewis put a scene in the Last Battle that allegorizes it for me. Jesus is the way, but who am I to judge how anyone but me might come to Him and follow in that way?
I recommend this movie to everyone. It really is that good. It will encourage you and help you if you let it.