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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More On Emily Rose

Darrell, over at Film Geeks 2.0, has posted a new review of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. And since I just watched the DVD two nights ago myself, I thought I would post a few words. I commented on this film earlier when it was first in the theaters, as did Darrell.

I think it was a good movie. Probably one of my five favorites of the year. First because it was just so well made. The cast was top of the line. Jennifer Carpenter, as Emily Rose, deserves some attention. She was superlative. Laura Linney, who has never given a bad performance, said more with her facial expressions at times than most actors do with a thousand lines of text. Her intelligence was commanding. And if Tom Wilkenson is not nominated for an Academy Award, an injustice will have occured. Usually Christian clergy are portrayed in films as either ignorant, bigotted, or villainous - or all three. Wilkenson's Father Moore was intelligent, sensitive, pastoral, strong, passionate about his beliefs, and willing to sacrifice himself for what is good.

As a pastor, I think this film and others like it can serve a useful purpose. Movies about the devil or demon possession are often overly sensationalistic, gory or special effects laden. This one had it's scary moments, but it was comparatively easy handed in the effects department, which I appreciated. This put more of the attention on the characters. And these characters are exceptionally well-drawn.

What I didn't like:

  • While in jail, when Father Moore was being attacked by demonic powers, he prayed to St. Michael for protection. Now the good thing is that it showed that prayer protected him from the devil. But why would he pray to an angel? There is no biblical promise that angels can hear and answer prayer. But there are countless promises that God hears us and answers us when we call out to Him. Pray to God to send an angel, if you like, but don't bother praying to the soldiers when you have ready access to the commander in chief.

  • The anthropologist who testified for the defense only muddied the picture as far as I am concerned.

  • I found the ending unsatisfactory. I won't spoil it, but I thought it was kind of strange.

What I liked:
  • Other than the compelling script and powerful performances which I mentioned earlier, I appreciated the basic intent of the film. Many in this age are materialists. By that I mean they believe that the only thing which is real is that which the eye can see and the dollar can purchase. Even many so-called Christians actually live their daily lives as this kind of materialist. Flapping their lips that God exists but going about the day as if He does not. I am grateful for a well-made movie that is respectful to the institutional Christian Church and that tries to open minds to the fact that there are truths and realities which transcend reason and the five senses.

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Carl said...

I've seen the film and thought it was very well done (not with
standing some of what you mentioned in the theological dept.)
Also, I've heard that the director is a Christian, so I'm sure that a positive effect on the overall presentation of the characters and script, which, I understand, is based upon the experience of a girl in Germany.

Dan Grams said...

We rented the DVD this weekend and watched. Frankly, I have to admit the only reason I rented it was because you listed it in your Christmas letter! I liked it for all of the reasons you have previously stated.

However, what was dissatisfying about it (as a Christian) was that Christ is never proclaimed as more powerful than the devil. And, you are left feeling rather hopeless, powerless, and depressed. I want my epitaph to read "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

Yes, it was a good movie. But it could have been much better.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Pastor Grams,

You are absolutely right. I agree with you 100%.

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