Story of journalists uncovering the cover-up of priests sexually abusing children. Gives insight into the importance of investigative journalism and the need for healing for so many Catholics.

Story of journalists uncovering the cover-up of priests sexually abusing children. Gives insight into the importance of investigative journalism and the need for healing for so many Catholics.

An eye-opening look at why we really shouldn't be playing football!

An eye-opening look at why we really shouldn’t be playing football!

Les Miserables — the musical

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserables

I think it is the best movie I’ve ever seen. Here is what I wrote about it on my blog:

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Ruby Bridges

Highly recommend this — elementary school children could watch too. Shows such a model of responding to persecution with the power of Christ and His Gospel. True story of the first little girl to cross the segregation line — the hate she faced, and how she did it.

The Tree of Life

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. Not publicized as a Christian movie, but outdoes so many that are publicized that way! It opens with a quote from Job: “Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.” – Job 38:4 The actors are well known and gifted, the photography is amazing, and the story deals with the big questions of life. How could a God I love allow this to happen? I have never seen the end of Job done so well. It deals with the contrast between “grace” and “nature,” with the mother and father representing each. It deals with idolatry, and how the sins of the fathers can be passed on to the children. At one point one son actually quotes Romans: “I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.” See it!

A Better Life

This movie is the story of an illegal immigrant to America trying to keep his son out of the gangs. It will increase your compassion for the immigrant. It will show you the power of love. Strong.

Grace is Gone

graceisgone_posterbigJohn Cusak has done some thoughtful movies, and I liked this one. Anything that can make us slower to move into war is good, and this accomplishes that.

Blindside

blind_side_movie Everyone is talking about it, and as an adoptive mother, I so strongly endorse this. Sandra Bullock, who plays the real life mother expressed that she had never met a real Christian before who really lives her faith. In the Vancouver news Bullock said she’d had a lot of negative experiences with people who call themselves Christians and acted better than her. Bullock shares: I said to Leigh Anne when I met her, ‘One of my biggest concerns stepping into this is this whole banner thing.’ I told her it scared me because I have had a lot of experiences that haven’t been that great. But she was so honest and forthright. I feel I have finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach. I now have faith in those who say they represent a faith, whereas before I would say, ‘Do not give me a lecture, because I think I am a pretty good human being. I may not go to church all the time, but I try to do the right thing. You are going to church and sleeping with someone else’s wife, so how are you better than me?’ I finally met someone who walks the walk, and that made me happy.” Bullock says that the key to her decision to make the film was that the Touhys didn’t get involved in Oher’s life for any benefits that might come to them. She says she felt the film would promote a genuine selflessness. “They didn’t do it because someone was writing an article or a book or making a movie. They did it because their instinct was to give love and to reach out a hand. Everyone questioned their motives, of course, because we don’t trust anyone who does anything nice. That is the sad world we live in. But they kept going, so it makes you feel that you need to step up your game. I felt it was an inspirational story that says we are more capable than we think we are, even though we don’t really live in a world that supports the good that we can do.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

velveteen-rabbit-300 Children and adults will enjoy this children’s classic directed by believer Michael Landon Junior. We don’t become real until we go through pain, and that is true in this story for children, adults, and The Velveteen Rabbit. The closing line is “Greater love has no toy than this – to lay down his life for his child.” A great Christmas movie available on DVD.

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song A stirring documentary – though I doubt Seeger is a believer, he acted like a worship leader and his story of using music to make a difference in the civil rights movement and other important causes is absolutely stirring.

Last Chance Harvey

Last Chance Harvey Two excellent actors, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in a sweet romance showing the power of love to redeem.

The Singing Revolution

The Singing Revolution A documentary on how Estonia sang instead of fought their way to freedom. Loved it.

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio

prizewinner I thought this was very well done, and took me back to my childhood in the 1950’s. I almost always like Julianna Moore. I also liked her commentary on it. True story, and realistic picture of the way many women, especially then, dealt with having an alcoholic husband.

Grace is Gone

gracegone John Cusak has done some thoughtful movies, and I liked this one. Anything that can make us slower to move into war is good, and this accomplishes that.

Martian Child

martian You would probably never rent it by the name or description on Netflix, but it’s very good. A widower adopts a troubled six-year-old boy. It will touch your heart and teach you a few things about the make-believe world of children and how to enter into it, to bond, to understand, and to love. Lines that made me chuckle, scenes that warmed my heart, and memories of my own about the challenge of adopting children with such great wounds.

Amazing Grace

amazing-grace The title comes from John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace” (“I once was lost but now am found”). Newton (Albert Finney) was a former slaveholder, who became a clergyman and spent his days repenting. It’s an  eye-opening biography of 18th century abolitionist William Wilberforce. Newton is one of many who helped the MP Wilberforce to abolish slavery in the UK. This is a wonderful story of God accomplishing His will through willing men.

Miss Potter

miss-potter Run to rent this. The story of Beatrix Potter of Peter Rabbit. Watch the director’s commentary as well. Watch it with your daughters and let them know God can help them do anything.

Luther

luther Luther is the story of a spiritual leader, German monk Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), in opposition to the religious orthodoxy of the time (the 1500s). His goal to bring God to the people and to take money, fear, and shame out of the equation. He was one of the great reformers of faith of his time.

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

sophie-scholl An inspiring film, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, made me hungry to learn more about the life and faith of this courageous young woman. During World War II, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and a number of other Munich University students formed the White Rose, a resistance movement dedicated to exposing Nazi atrocities and bringing down the Third Reich. In February 1943, three White Rose members were captured and executed for their efforts in resisting the Nazis.   Over the months that followed, many more of their friends were also caught and killed. Witnesses reported that they went to their deaths calmly, with the assurance that their sacrifice was not wasted. Their basic Christian attitude immensely helped the White Rose to stop talking about resistance and start acting.   Suddenly they saw one thing clearly.   Being against is not enough. We have to do something. There is an enormous stone wall of impossibility, and our job is to discover minute possibilities that we can chip or blast out of the wall.   Finding possibilities, even on the smallest scale, was extremely important for Sophie.   The passage from the Epistle of James, “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only,” was an imperative for her.

The Painted Veil – Somerset Maugham

painted-veil-poster A love story set in the 1920’s of love coming to a loveless marriage. Though Maugham rejected the faith of his parents when faced with tragedy, he cannot deny the beauty of the values he had seen: of what matters most, of the power of forgiveness, of the glory of living sacrificially.

Mrs. Palfrey at The Clairmont

mrspaulfrey A portrait of friendship between an unlikely pair: a lonely elderly widow and a young man who failed to receive the blessing from his family. A surprisingly delightful movie.

Facing the Giants

facing_the_giants_2006 How refreshing to see such a good family story that shows that with God nothing is impossible. It made me cry  – it was so tender. Yes, it’s a little corny and everything works out a little too perfectly, but it could actually happen that way. It’s worth your time.

Akeelah and the Bee

akeelah Starbucks produced this family friendly story of an 11-year-old, who spelled her way out of South Los Angeles, despite discouragement from her mother (Angela Bassett.) It’s a little corny and contrived, but a very good and morally uplifting watch. Product Details:

Actors: Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Curtis Armstrong, J.R. Villarreal

Directors: Doug Atchison

Les Miserables (1998)

a-le-mes This is the newest movie version of Victor Hugo’s novel showing the powerful story of the redemption of a convict. Appropriate for older children and could lead to good discussions. Product Details:

Actors: Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, Claire Danes, Hans Matheson

Directors: Bille August

Language: English, French

The Way Home (2002) DVD

way-home-4 Original Release Date: 2002 Poignant film of a rude little Korean boy who spends the summer with his mute grandmother and learns love and respect.

Esther (DVD)

esther1 Dee and Kathy recommends having a “Movie Night” with your bible study group during your “Living in Love with Jesus” study.  “Esther” is the movie they suggest watching together. After watching the movie, you’ll find on page 222 of the “Living in Love with Jesus” workbook, a list of questions to help facilitate a discussion of the movie with your group. Make it a fun evening with popcorn!

The Straight Story (1999) DVD

200px-the_straight_story_dvd_cover True story of an elderly brother who rides for months on his riding lawnmower to make up with his estranged brother – played by Richard Farnsworth, my second favorite actor. (He also played Matthew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables)

The Emperor’s Club

theemporersclub Starring: Kevin Kline, Emile Hirsch Director: Michael Hoffman Run Time: 110 minutes

Phantom of the Opera

phamton Ahhh – a good romance with music. The female lead is wonderful.

Hotel Rwanda

hotel_rwanda_verdvd You simply have to see it. We must become world Christians, praying for countries around the world and getting involved in doing justice and loving mercy. It is a true story. You may be motivated to give to Amnesty International when you see it.

A River Runs Through It

a_river_runs_through_it_cover This is a haunting true story, eloquently told, about sometimes not being able to stop the people we love from destroying themselves. The younger brother, played by Brad Pitt, is beautiful, and as his father expresses it, “has the gift of grace.” Yet he is rebellious, and truly, seems to behave like the fool in Proverbs. There are some wonderful lines and thoughts. I love an opening scene where the father tells the two sons that “If you listen carefully, underneath the sounds of the river, are the words of God.” They took that very literally and didn’t understand. I think the father’s thoughts were often beyond them, but I loved that scene. As Psalm 19 says, “God’s voice goes out throughout all the earth”…  in the stars, in the river, in all of the beauty of creation. The photography is breathtaking! I also loved the film about the making of this moving called “Shadow Casting.”

Daniel Deronda

danielderonda Cast: Hugh Dancy, Romola Garai, Hugh Bonneville Director: Tom Hooper Running Time: 210 minutes (Stirring, romantic, thought-provoking. Though author George Eliot rejected her Christian upbringing, Christian values permeate the story.)

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

girl-with Cast: Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson Director: Peter Webber Categories: Drama Rated: PG-13 ( Brief Nudity, Adult Situations, Adult Language, Sexual Situations  ) Running Time: 99 minutes

The Passion of the Christ

passion Cast: James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Claudia Gerini Director: Mel Gibson Categories: Drama Rated: R (Adult Situations, Not For Children, Graphic Violence, Gore ) Running Time: 126 minutes (If you have resisted seeing it because of the violence, the growth you will experience will outweigh the pain you will endure.)

Other Movie Suggestions:

These may be older movies, but I’ve just seen them in the past and recommend them highly…

  • Return to Me
  • Lord of the Rings
  • The Apostle
  • Babette’s Feast
  • Little Women
  • The Inheritance
  • Camelot
  • Snow Falling on Cedars
  • Tender Mercies
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Kate and Leopold

Explanation of Movie Choices:

How do we decide what movies are beneficial and what movies are not? This is definitely a Romans 14 (gray issue) on which people who truly love the Lord disagree. Let us each respect the other, knowing we will each give an account before God. Some believers have a sharp distinction between the sacred and the secular. If there is any profanity, nudity, or violence in a film, they will not watch it. They do this to the glory of God and I applaud them. They will probably not agree with many of my choices, but I would ask that they respect that I too am seeking God. Others, and I am among them, believe that there can be great truth or beauty in a film that may have some of the above elements, and that it may be beneficial to watch these movies despite these elements. I truly believe that God can work through art, music, and drama that is not created by Christians. If there is truth, if there is beauty – it is from Him, whether the individual intended it or not. This is a basic tenet of reformed theology. There are things in every movie and every book with which I don’t agree, but I look for overall truth and beauty. I love the concept of “plundering from the Egyptians,” of taking the treasures God gave them and leaving the dross. I am not one to count how many swear words or flashes of skin are shown, but to look at the whole movie through the filter of Philippians 4:8. If there is sex or violence, I ask that it be essential to the plot or to the truth of history. For example, you cannot tell the story of Johnny Cash’s life before he returned to God without telling of his struggles with drugs, alcohol, and infidelity. Yet I believe Walk the Line is worth seeing (though I truly would love to have this producer do Part II – the story of Cash’s return to God) because there is so much that is beautiful – you can see how the love of June’s family wooed Cash back to God, how he was able to begin a ministry with prisoners and to reconcile with the father who had hurt him so badly. The producer’s commentary on the DVD is fascinating and there is so much beauty and redemption. Did the movie justify divorce? Some will think so – I did not. I do want to clarify that I am not recommending any of these movies for children, though some might be appropriate. For this, you might want to link to Focus on the Family’s movie review website: https://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/ I welcome your comments and would love to publish some of your articulate reactions to these recommendations on my website. Please respond by contacting me here.