Guest / Limited Access /

Through a Screen Darkly:
Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth and Evil in the Movies

by Jeffrey Overstreet
Regal Books, 340 pages, $17.99

Just in time for the Oscars, Jeffrey Overstreet treats us to a warm, even lush guide to film through Christian eyes. He weaves deft plot description and personal narrative into what he describes as "an invitation to journey." As a mainstay of Christianity Today's movies website (christianitytoday.com/movies) and the beneficiary of evangelical Protestant schooling from kindergarten through his college years, Overstreet knows his audience well. He confesses "a strange compulsion to sit down between Christian culture and secular society, trying to help them understand each other—and ultimately God—better through a shared experience of art." In this book, his voice speaks to the Christian side of that divide, even as his eyes are lit up by the other.

Overstreet's memoirist-as-mentor tack serves the "invitation" part of the book well, enabling him to address contentious issues from an intimate, personal vantage. Nudity, sex, violence, profanity, anti-Christian storylines: He approaches each in a seasoned, sometimes battle-weary way, still smarting from the e-mail shellackings he's received from hostile readers over the years. So in the form of a story—his own story—he responds, seeking to deepen the reader's notion of what art is and fashion a new framework for considering the vexing questions art invariably raises.

Overstreet is most convincing in his effort to show evangelical readers that their traditional approach to art tends to impede both a rich experience of the goodness of God and a profound understanding of this present darkness. "If I think that by withdrawing I can get ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedDesire and Deliverance
Desire and Deliverance
Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
TrendingNine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
Nine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
(UPDATED) Mars Hill responds Friday to leaked letter, says 'our team is Jesus, not one group of elders or another.'
Editor's PickLife Together, Again
Life Together, Again
After Hobby Lobby, vibrant corporate life is needed more than ever.
Comments
Christianity Today
Modernity's Art Form
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.