There seem to be two sides to the film/television coin when it comes to morals. We have the “dark side,” with the glorification of extramarital affairs, obscene language, the mocking of Christianity and senseless graphic violence. On the “light side,” Christian films have been coming out steadily the last few years, celebrating purity, fatherhood and religious freedom.
But even as our values decline as a culture, there are subtle glimpses of hope in some of the films and television shows made today. Perhaps it’s thanks to a few unknown Christians in the right positions in the industry who help to cast a little light in the darkness.
Last fall the CW launched the short-lived mystery thriller Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Although it was canceled after just one season, the early episodes strongly resembled the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
Gellar played former drug addict Bridget Kelly and her upscale identical twin sister Siobhan Martin. Bridget is on her road to recovery from an immoral and risky lifestyle, humbly accepting that she’s messed things up and needs to make amends. On the run from the man who wants her dead, she travels across the country to stay with her estranged sister.
After the two spend time together on the Martins’ boat, Bridget wakes up with Siobhan nowhere to be found. Siobhan left her wedding ring in a pill bottle so Bridget assumes Siobhan killed herself. To protect herself and continue hiding from her hunter, Bridget then assumes Siobhan’s identity, playing the part as a wife, best friend and stepmother.
Siobhan’s life seemed so normal, so perfect from the outside looking in, but Bridget quickly discovers her marriage was rocky, she had a lover on the side, and she constantly fought with her stepdaughter. Bridget works to improve the relationships she’s now adopted as her own, and the wounds begin to heal.
This contrast in characters is a powerful contemporary parallel to the Pharisee and the tax collector. Siobhan viewed her sister as the Pharisee viewed the tax collector: “God, I thank Thee that I am not like … this tax collector.” Bridget was, in many ways, living out the tax collector’s exclamation: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
And in the recently released film Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart, Stewart’s character of Snow White is praise for her innocence and purity. Even while she is imprisoned in the first part of the movie, Snow White recites the Our Father in full on-screen.
We must continue to pray for all those working in the entertainment industry. May we have more and more examples in the near future to praise!
Can you think of any shows or films you’ve seen recently that surprised you by a Christian message or remark?