Here’s a Film Tip for You…

Perhaps the one film I’ve enjoyed most this past year is a not-so-well-known gem called The Visitor. It’s actually a 2007 film that my wife and I saw at the Ragtag in 2008. Lead actor Richard Jenkins was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Visitor, playing a depressed widowed professor who discovers an immigrant couple squatting in his Manhattan flat, and he reluctantly, then enthusiastically, becomes wrapped up in their lives.

That doesn’t sound like a very compelling plot for a great film, but au contraire my friend. If you like to watch good acting, great directing, a thoughtful script with slower dialogue containing realistic, at-times awkward, silences where moral and spiritual and ontological wrestling is taking place within—where real human relationship and soulishness is explored and developed—you’ll love this film as my wife and I did. There are no sex scenes or gratuitous exploitations of sexuality (it’s rated PG-13 for brief strong language), so it’s safe for kids. But it is perhaps too deep and slow moving to keep even older kids’ interests. I think more thoughtful teens will enjoy this film too. Jeannette and I were enthralled from beginning to end.

So I highly recommend this film to you. It is not a Christian film, or a film containing any kind of subversive Christian message. But it does have themes that are certainly worth discussing as realistic to the gospel and the realities of the human condition. How does this film show us more of what it means to be human? To have a soul? To value others as human beings created in the image of God? To love? To live in community? The desire to sacrifice for others? To have a need for artistic expression and creativity? How does this film better show us certain realities of human fallenness? That we are a glorious ruin as human beings created in the image of God but fallen? And there are other good questions to be asked and discussed as well. Watch it with others who enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation. Watch it at a time where you are free from distractions. Watch it on a good TV if you can that shows well the details of facial expressions. Watch it.

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