Writer finds lesson in ‘Noah’


A movie with Russell Crowe and Emma Watson in the rain? Count me in. A Hollywood retelling of a biblical favorite? I have some reservations.
Noah was released nation and worldwide Easter weekend to, as some can imagine, pretty mixed reviews. While some were thrilled by the cinematic reimagining, others were appalled by the creative liberties taken in one of the most famous stories of the Hebrew Bible.
The story is great. We all know it. God was disgusted with the world He created and decided to wipe the slate clean and start again, only to relent and allow Noah, a 500-something-year-old father of three, to save his family and a literal boatload of animals.
Most appealing wasn’t the familiar story or the meh acting, it was the simplification and relevance of the situation. At its center is what appears to be an unnerving example of divine self-doubt.
The pleasant surprises of the film were the deviations from the story in the Bible. Director Darren Aronofsky explored the psychological battles Noah and his family faced to bring timeless applications to a story that is set thousands of years ago. His previous works include Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan and the television series, Lost, all of which certainly rely less on the setting and character interactions and more about the personal struggles of morality. In short, he turns the story of Noah into a state of psychological disarray.
The invaluable lesson of Noah is that a sincere and authentic film about religious faith need not be strident, heavy-handed or unimaginative, nor must it cleave to the very letter of Scripture, timidly and reverently, in order to get at its deeper truths and insights. However, it fares commercially from here, and whatever culture wars are waged in its name. Noah feels, at this moment, like a triumph and a breakthrough — a film that brings a well-worn story to such vivid and unpredictable dramatic life that we are compelled to take its characters seriously and grapple with their dilemmas anew. It is the biblical epic that secular and non-secular audiences, whether they realize it or not, have long deserved and waited for.
Religious beliefs can and should be set aside for the sake of the film. At face value, it is an entertaining movie with Javert and Hermoine Granger on a boat.