Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shallow Insensitive Hypocritical Nutcases?

In case you didn't know, I am an avid Alan Rickman fan (I made a post after watching a brilliant short film and another after listening to him narrate an audiobook.) and recently heard about a movie of his called Snow Cake. Our library actually had it, so I snatched it up and played it on my laptop while riding in the car.

It's one of those films that you might call "artsy". If your taste leans toward shot-em-up-and-head-for-the-secret-military-base sort of stuff then you probably won't care for this deep, sensitive, character-driven plot. You get to know three or four people who are all tied up with an autistic woman, Linda, and her teenage daughter, Vivienne--who is killed in a car crash. Rickman's character gets involved in their lives after a tragic past of his own, and what follows is an introspective, challenging, and thoroughly entertaining movie.

There was something that really bugged me about it, though--besides the language and some bad aesthetics--the way it portrayed Christians. Practically everyone in the small town of Wawa, Ontario is described as "religious", everyone except for a few main characters. The Christian women who try to help Linda after her daughter's death are shown as well-meaning (maybe), but their good points stop there. They are shallow, nasty-nice, simple, insensitive, completely oblivious, hypocritical, annoying, and prudish. Of course the few irreligious ones are complex, passionate, curious, compassionate, understanding, lively, and extremely interesting. You find yourself cringing every time a middle-aged lady church lady comes on screen, and rejoice at the quasi-prostitute with the kind and engaging personality.

What is wrong with this picture?

If Christians are really the only ones who are in touch with Father God, the Creator of this lovely, deep, intricate universe so full of joy and meaning, shouldn't we be the ones who "get it"? The ones who are fascinating? The ones who are full of love and true selflessness? How have we gotten this sour reputation and why must Hollywood beat it into people's skulls?

Now I'm not saying that atheists and Buddhists and Muslims, etc. can't be wonderful people too, but why do Christians have to be portrayed as such unpleasant nutcases? Steven Crowder wrote an awesome post on this topic called "All Christians Are Serial Killers", I highly recommend reading it. He makes a very good point, "We've never seen Hollywood go after Buddhism, Hinduism, or even Islam." For some reason these groups are handled with kid gloves, while it's OK to make Christianity the media's whipping boy. 

Try paying close attention to the next film you watch. Are there any religious characters? How are their personalities scripted? Does the director have an obvious agenda? 
It's so easy to be brainwashed into accepting the fact that Christians will inevitably be beaten up by the film industry. Next time you see this kind of injustice, consider writing to someone in charge. Make the truth known! 

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