First off, what do we mean by "redeeming" films? They're all stories of redemption—sometimes blatantly, sometimes less so. Several of them literally have a character that represents a redeemer; all of them have characters who experience redemption to some degree—some quite clearly, some more subtly. Some are "feel-good" movies that leave a smile on your face; some are a bit more uncomfortable to watch. But the redemptive element is there in all of these films.
It's interesting to note that six of our ten choices are all based on true stories. Maybe that just goes to show that some of the best redemptive stories—at least the ones that move us the most—are those that are really true. And so, our list:
Be still, and know that I am God. If ever the words of Psalm 46:10 could be applied to a movie, this is certainly the one. German filmmaker Philip Grö ning spent six months living with Carthusian monks at France's Grande Chartreuse Monastery, documenting the tranquil, contemplative everyday lives of the extraordinary men who live there. It adds up to three hours of nearly silent meditation that is simultaneously slow moving and spellbinding—a film to be experienced more so than merely watched. The film caused several of us to ask ourselves, "If these men can spend entire days—indeed, their very lives—in devotion and service to God, why is it so hard for me to spend 10 minutes a day doing the same?" A remarkable piece of filmmaking that gives rich new meaning to the term, "quiet time." (Our review.)
Long before we saw this film, its official synopsis made us nervous: "A lonely, delusional young man buys a life-size sex doll on the Internet ...1