Discernment / Movies / Pluralistic World

Insight into Film: Why We Talk About Films

We believe that the films we call attention to are valuable for the discerning Christian. Valuable as a window of insight into the heart of our postmodern culture, or as a point of contact to begin discussion with non-Christians about things that matter. It’s in a culture’s stories that we have access to what is in their hearts and imaginations—to their hopes and fears, values and dreams. And especially for the postmodern generation, their stories, the ones they engage repeatedly and discuss endlessly, are found in movies. Not all films are worthy of reflection, of course, but many address the deepest questions of life, and those are the ones we call attention to on this site and in Ransom’s publications.

Even when we recommend a film, it doesn’t mean everyone should see it. We all need windows of insight and points of contact, but we don’t all need to use the same ones all the time. Faithfulness involves being sensitive to this glorious diversity among the people of God. We must also be aware of our own weaknesses, and flee temptation. If certain scenes tempt us to sin, it is wrong to fail to act on that insight, just as it is self-centered to assume that since we shouldn’t see a certain film, no one else should either.

Our desire is to stimulate the people of God to think Christianly about all of life and culture. As Os Guinness points out in Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to do About It, “thinking Christianly should not be confused with adopting a ‘Christian line’ on every issue.” The goal is faithfulness, not conformity to a list of rules set by experts. Which is why we provide tools for reflection and discussion instead of merely telling you what to think about any particular movie.

We realize our perspective on film sets us apart from some other voices in the evangelical community, but we trust our approach will enrich your reflections on what it means to be faithful in our world. And provide opportunities to talk to non-Christians about the gospel.

Christians at the movies
Have you ever wanted to ask a friend about the meaning of life but couldn’t find a way to introduce the topic naturally? While it might be awkward to pepper your conversations with such questions as “how do you explain the presence of evil in the world?” or “is there life after death?”—if you’ve ever seen a good movie with a friend, chances are you talked easily about foundational issues once the lights came back on. Movies can be a catalyst for conversations about love, joy, suffering, God, the meaning of life, the origin and future of the universe, sex…you name it. Approached with discernment, movies are powerful tools for Christians to better understand the world and to better engage with friends on topics that matter.

With thousands of movies out there, where do you start? How do you know which movies are worthy of discussion? That’s where Ransom comes in. We’ve done the hard work of watching hundreds of movies, sifting the not-so-worthy from the entirely-note-worthy to bring you these reviews. Not only that, but we’ve included discussion questions to get you started.

So, whether you are reflecting on a film you’ve just seen, or planning to see one that everyone is talking about, or getting ready to lead a film discussion with friends, we hope you will find the resources we provide to be helpful. And please keep logging on, since we’ll be adding new reviews and discussion guides as time goes by.