Last week I saw the movie “The Revenant”, I won’t tell you anything about what happens at the end but the main plot of the movie is based on the true story of Hugh Glass who was part of an expedition and was mauled by a bear. Everyone considered that he would die soon, but he was taking quite a while. They couldn’t make way carrying him, and winter was coming, so eventually the expedition left two volunteers who were to stay with him for a large fee until he died and then bury him. After five days he still hadn’t died and out of concern for themselves they abandoned him, taking his belongings with them. The main story then begins of his survival and desire for revenge that keeps him going through incredible conditions. Before seeing it I had heard one review of it that was fairly negative, saw that it stated showing up in the press and on award show lists, and read a review by Bishop Robert Barron that considered some of the morals in the movie and the critical line “vengeance is best left to the Creator.” It was definitely a movie with action, but also hopefully one that makes us think about how we act, how we respond to how we are treated, and what that says about us and our beliefs.
That was a different movie from most that I have seen over the last few years, but it also made me think of some other movies and hopefully how they entertain but also how they present us with the opportunity to think and reflect on the situation in the movie, and about our own lives. The following are just a couple of movies that I think are very good in this manner, I’ve seen a lot of movies so chances are I will mention more in the future at times.
“Romero”, the film about Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in the late 1970’s to his death in 1980 starring Raul Julia. A true story that shows again how different people reacted in extreme situations and how their faith and morals conflicted and battle with their fears in their decisions on what they will do. An opportunity for any of us to think about how we would act.
“The Way”, a film about a man (played by Martin Sheen) whose son (played by Emilio Estevez) has just died in an accident when starting to walk “The Way of St. James” from France into Spain. The man decides to take up the journey himself and eventually appreciates the journey for more than just getting to the end of it. Actually not a bad reflection as we are on our Lenten journey. And I’ll end this selection with a more critically acclaimed movie from years ago, “Chariots of Fire”. Sport movies are usually pretty good at showing determination and sacrifice for a goal, this one demonstrates the various motivations
of numerous people, class struggles, religious integrity, social pressures, and also a very entertaining and well made movie (I would hope that I am not the only one who can still immediately remember the theme music.)
Another good thing about movies is that I think it can give us an opportunity not only to reflect ourselves, but hopefully to also discuss these thoughts, these feelings, these beliefs with one another.