****Warning: Spoiler Alert**** If you haven’t seen it, or don’t want to know details, avoid reading on.
There has been a lot of controversy in the Christian community as whether or not to see the “Noah” movie. I thought we were prepped and prepared for what we would see and feel. The articles suggested that this movie account of Noah, deviated from the Biblical account a little. So many “details” are missing in the Scriptural account that we expected there to be some “poetic” license, but we felt like after seeing the trailer, the movie would do the story justice.
The movie is extremely well-made and acted. The cinematography is stunning. My fourteen-year-old put it this way, “It’s like when they make a movie of your favorite book, and they get all the details wrong. It’s a shame that it got so off course, because by itself the actors were amazing and it was fun to watch.”
On the one hand we see the depth of human wickedness. Genesis 6:5 tells us, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” It is obvious in the portrayal of violence, hurt, and the strange post-apocalyptic wasteland everyone lives in. I can only imagine how horrific it must have been to hear the cries of the dying as the flood waters over took the earth, and then to be cooped up inside while it rained and rained and rained.
On the other hand, I spent 2 1/2 hours in confusion. It began when the rock-like “Watchmen” appeared with a story that totally deviates from who they are in Genesis 6, and ran through most of what I saw. (Tubal- Cain is in Genesis 4, but did not kill Lamech, Noah’s father.) I could pick apart the details, however, there is a great article I found answering questions around the Noah “controversies” HERE.
It wasn’t the misrepresented facts that troubled me though. Does anyone remember the Noah television mini-series that also held Sodom and Gomorrah from years ago? What hurt my heart was the representation of “The Creator” (as God is called).
The God of Noah and the people of the earth is silent, confusing, and distant. It misses that in Genesis 4, Seth and his son Enosh began to worship the Lord by name. Yes, it depicts Noah as a “righteous man” but it misses a key part to Genesis 6:9, “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”
Noah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke with him clearly in the details of what he was doing, why he was doing it, and how to carry it out. On at least two occasions in the account the phrase, “Noah did everything as God COMMANDED him,” is used. God closed the door to the ark, and GOD TOLD Noah when it was time to leave. He was close to Noah and clear about His desires.
Instead, in this account God is described over and again as being almost cruel. The Watchmen want to know why God stopped talking to them. Tubal-Cain screams at Him to say anything. Noah is left to his own devices to interpret God’s words and actions. It troubled me deeply though that Noah thinks he and his wife can override God’s will, and when they get it “wrong” it will nearly torment them to death.
My 13-year-old son summed it up this way, “If I was a teen who was struggling with my faith with God and I saw this movie, I might give up on Him. I would walk away thinking God is heartless, distant and down right cold. It missed the faith of Noah that held him because he knew God.”
So should you see it? Some say a resounding, “YES!” so you can talk about it. Although, I had already re-read Genesis 5-9 by myself, with my children, and in my youth group to get ready, I went back to my Bible again after seeing it. This is good. It forces you to really know what God’s Word does and does not say. (Read it for yourself HERE.)
I would say this, be very careful about bringing the “unchurched” to see the film. The reality is when we see a movie “based on real events,” we take what we see to heart. There is a lot off in the film, and honestly the “themes” I expected to stand out did not. Noah is supposed to be righteous, but allows a young woman to be trampled to death, almost kills his granddaughters, and lives in shame for a period of time? In addition, the graphic nature of the film can be difficult to watch. My 6th grader struggled with a lot of it, she spent more time with her eyes covered than watching it.
So what to say? Weigh the facts before you go. If you have a friend who desperately can’t wait to see it, then go and discuss it with them. If you are thinking this is the perfect evangelical opportunity, it’s not. The director is a self-proclaimed atheist, and it shines through in the back drop of the telling. In the end, I was struck with the realization that the best tool in telling people about Jesus is in relationship with them. For that matter then it’s time spent, and really almost any movie can be a catalyst to a deeper conversation about God.
If I had to choose again I might skip Noah and see something else.
Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?
Leneita / @leneitafix