Do you have a favourite movie? It’s a question I sometimes ask when doing talks about film and faith. It’s a question I find hard to answer these days, I’ve seen and loved too many films, though there are a fistful of screen yarns that, when I rewatch them, I find myself wondering – ‘Is this my favourite?’ It happened the other day when revisiting The Untouchables, and I’d include Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Help, Chariots of Fire, Little Women, Brooklyn and Dead Poets Society in that rather hefty handful. We love films for various reasons of course. Some people just want to escape, while others enjoy finding meaning in the stories. I love interesting acting, plotting and characters. I have often said that films are about 50% what’s on the screen and 50% what’s in our heads. Which is why I’m cautious about recommending films these days. What floats my boat, or tears my ticket, or pops my corn, will not resonate with you in the same way. One thing is certain (I reckon) stories matter to us. They can make our hopes soar and our blood boil. They give us a chance to express what is inside, we can both lose ourselves and find ourselves in a film. (Or a book, play, series, musical etc.) We love to retell them, sharing our experience with others. The first few movies drew directly on stories from the Bible, but for me any film will feature something of humanity, and the Bible oozes with the same stuff. People. Wrestling with themselves, with their world, with their pasts and futures, with their families, friends, enemies, disappointments and dreams. Apparently, Hitchcock had a saying when working on each latest epic. ‘It’s only a movie.’ Oddly though he threw himself 110% into making those things that were only movies. Stories can change lives. As can the Bible. I’m grateful for all those films that continue to send me back to the pages of that Good Book, helping me wrestle once more with life and truth, hope and failure, purpose, peace and my restless world. So… what’s your favourite?
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.