Monday, November 05, 2007

Bella, The Movie

When I was going through the blogs this morning David Kuo's link to this review of Bella caught my eye. If you haven't heard of Bella, it's a movie, and you can watch the trailer at this site. I first saw the trailer a couple of weeks ago and thought it was sort of vague. It did arouse a curiosity in me though, and that is part of the reason I read the whole review Kuo linked to.

The reviewer, Barbara Nicolosi, is clearly not a fan of the movie. As David Kuo points out, she hasn't seen the final cut of the movie. Maybe the movie has improved in the editing room, but maybe not. That's not really why I enjoyed her review. I enjoyed it because of paragraphs like these:

The "Cream of the Crop" percentage for Bella over at Rotten Tomatoes is a "25%" Which is about right. And no, I don't think the industry critics are panning the project because of its Christian worldview, although I know that many Christians will make that case. If only they were panning this film as propaganda. But they're not. They are panning it as bad art. Bad storytelling...and that should really matter to us Christians who are raving about this project, shouldn't it? Should we Christians be throwing ourselves on the ground in front of a movie just because the filmmakers are Christians? Should we rally around a project that is ambiguous about the "right to choose," simply because the filmmakers meant to make a pro-life film? Does wanting to make a great Catholic pro-life film equate with actually making one?

How do we respond to the serious charges against this piece from the secular critics? Should we just ignore what they say as the threatened snarling of jaded, hedonistic, pagans? I'm hearing people tell me that, anyway, movies are all just a matter of taste. "Movies are like food." Oh, so now, we Christians are going to be the ones making that case that there is no such thing as the beautiful and that beauty is all in the eye of the beholder? Be careful with that. I promise you, you're not going to like where it goes.

Regardless of whether or not I would enjoy the movie, I do agree with Nicolosi that Christians have a tendency to blindly follow anything that is Christian. By doing so, many of us have weakened the critical voice that is present in all of us, the one that helps us determine between good art and not-so-good art. We sort of need to do an about face when critiquing one another's work. It isn't solely about the Creator anymore when it is you and I doing the creating, it's about the creation.

Just because it might be Christian, doesn't mean it's great.

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