This is not a “Noah” movie review. This is a blog about how we should interact with art. Hopefully, you can take away some thoughts about how to relate to movies, including “Noah,” and art in general.
I used to only interact with art that I “liked” (and that was before Facebook). A friend helped me break out of my consumer attitude toward art, so that I could look past what I personally liked to trying to understand what the artist is saying.
Christian speaker, author, and apologist Ellis Potter, in his article, “Is Art a Commodity or a Relationship?” points out that our personal taste is not the best measure of whether art is worthy or not.
Ellis considers how we should interact with art and artists:
Christian parents often ask me: “What kind of films should I let my children
watch?” “What kind of music should I let my children listen to?” These
questions are asked in love and concern for the edification and protection of the
children. But, they are built on a disturbing underlying assumption: that art is a
commodity, which we consume. They are questions of diet: Which films,
paintings, or music should I consume because they will be nourishing to me, and
which should I avoid? Andy Warhol could see that the American people wanted
art to be product, so he painted a Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can. It was a great
insult to the American people, but they loved it. If art is only products to be
produced and consumed, then we can be self-centered and protective in our
approach to it. But art is really expressions in various languages of observations,
questions, complaints, admiration, challenges, encouragements made by human
beings as part of a great conversation with the cosmos, or god and other people.
If human expression is only products to be consumed, then we should never
have a conversation with an alcoholic, a drug addict, a homosexual or a
prostitute, because their conversation will probably not be edifying. But Jesus
spent much of his time with these sorts of people because he knew who they
really were – fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
It actually made me mad when I read this article years ago. If it irritates you – just mull over it a bit. I have come to think that it is a wholesome, enriching way to interact with art. I feel freed from measuring art by how representational it is. I can now ask myself what the artist is saying, and interact with the thoughts and expressions of the artist. This approach opens up interesting conversations with others who interact with art.
If you choose to see “Noah,” instead of simply asking yourself how representational it is of the Biblical account, try asking yourself what the writer and director are saying through the movie. After all, the director made no attempt to be faithful to the Biblical account. As the Washington Times reported on March 24,2014:
Director Darren Aronofsky called his movie “the least biblical biblical film ever made,” The Telegraph reported. He also claimed his leading character, Noah, was the “first environmentalist,” something that suggests the movie storyline doesn’t exactly follow the Bible’s.
Some questions you might ask after watching “Noah”:
- How does the movie portray justice and mercy?
- Does Noah’s character change during the course of the movie? How?
- Does the movie take the Biblical account seriously?
- What is the movie saying about the nature of man? the nature of God?
What other questions can you come up with?
If you see “Noah,” try viewing it — and other art — as a relationship, rather than a commodity.
~ Betsy McPeak