Editors: R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel
Paperback: 311 pages
Publisher: Intervarsity Press
It’s no secret that I am interested in the intersection of faith and pop culture, especially theology and film. This book has been on my reading list for a while and I have even utilized it for researching religious themes in movies.
This book consists of fourteen essays dealing with theological and philosophical themes that are prevalent in movies.
These fourteen essays offer wonderful reflection on classic and contemporary films following several major themes, all within the context of Christian faith: (1) the human condition, (2) the human mind and the nature of knowing, (3) the moral life, and (4) faith and religion. (Back cover)
While I have a soft spot for science fiction, I found this book to be extremely helpful in opening up my mind to religious and philosophical themes in other genres. Some of the movies examined in this book are Citizen Kane, 2001, Legends of the Fall, and Bowling for Columbine.
Some of the other reviews I read stated that the book was more philosophical than religious. I did not find that to be true. I thought the authors of the essays struck a balance between philosophy and theology. In some cases, it is hard to separate the philosophy from the theology, so I can understand where this claim comes from, although, I disagree.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It opened my eyes to religious themes that appeared in genres outside of science fiction. It also brought to my attention movies that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of as having religious themes. I think the authors of the essays do a good job of explaining philosophical and/or theological terms for people who may not have an understanding of philosophy or theology. Also, this book can be taken as a whole or in parts. Say you are running a small group on film and theology and want to watch Pretty Woman, you could read just the chapter dealing with Pretty Woman or you could expand more and read the section on the human condition. That makes this book very versatile for small group leaders. But, I would say that some understanding of faith and film is necessary for utilizing this book. This book delves into specifics and an general knowledge would be helpful and would enhance the readers experience with this book.
I received this book free from Intervarsity Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”