Last week we published our review of Left Behind, written (contrary to some assertions) by one of our regular critics. It took the film, and its source material, to task for a few things: not being at all entertaining, being outright offensive in its portrayal of a number of characters both Christian and not, and pursuing the minimum “Christian” content to be marketed at Christians while not embodying or exploring any particularly Christian traits or concerns.
So I’d like to respond to some of these concerns, referring to Jack’s piece throughout.
I do know that one could argue that a film in which the Rapture occurs is embodying a Christian concern; unfortunately, the Rapture also occurred in the HBO show The Leftovers and that raunchy Judd Apatow movie This Is the End and a few other properties just in the last year, so that doesn't really hold water. Nor does the portrayal of a Christian character make it Christian.
The thing that makes a movie “Christian,” in today's movie climate, is that it either explores important questions rooted in and resonating with the Christian faith (I think of This is Martin Bonner, or Calvary, or Tree of Life, or any number of films), or it is made for the Christian “market” and will be primarily watched by that market, like God’s Not Dead. Or, sometimes, both.
Jack's argument is that in his view, the property does none of those things well, settling more to be a “Jesus juke” of other popular genres. They are, in other words, copies of things that already exist, with “Christian” stuff stapled on in order to make them more palatable to a particular market segment with money to spend. (As Jack ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more