~This week’s review comes from Josiah Gulick, a sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is studying for a Bachelors of Science in Arabic and Spanish with a goal of being able to minister to and evangelize those people in their own language. He is a close brother in Christ and a true man of God. It is my honor to post his review here for your reading pleasure.~
Last night I watched a movie called “The Strange Case of Benjamen Button.” It was the saddest movie I’ve ever seen, and it caused a strange emotional reaction in me.
Let me explain.
The plot is about a man, Benjamin who lives his life backwards. He was born on the last day of WWI with the body of an old man about to die but the mind of a newborn. And he ages backwards, so he’s physically a newborn when he dies. The story is told through the eyes of a modern woman who is reading his diary to her dying mother, Daisy, who happened to be a woman who Benjamin interacted with a lot. The movie traces Benjamin’s odd life, and shows all of his experiences. He falls in and out of love, sails around the world, and more.
A huge theme in the movie is death. More people die and get hurt in a non-action movie than I’ve seen. The movie accurately portrays pain and suffering. However, it offers no solution for it. The lack of a solution comes from the film’s humanist view. That is, You are born, you live and have as many experiences as you can without worrying about morality, then you die. And that’s it. No redemption, no hope, no grace.
There are some more positive actions shown. One old man Benjamen has many interactions which say to him, “Maybe it’s just God reminding me how lucky I am to be alive.” The movie attempts to show the importance of a father in one’s life, but it doesn’t draw any conclusions about this or even show without a father, one will have a life which is flawed.
Benjamen looks for meaning for his life everywhere: travel, women, drink, friendships, even service. But he doesn’t find it. He ends up dying in pain and suffering, without memory of his life. He lived his life for the experience of it, but at his death he couldn’t remember any of it. In fact, the movie ends with the poignant scene of an old clock in a warehouse, ticking. Flood waters from Hurricane Katrina (the movie is mainly set in New Orleans) wash into the warehouse and the screen cuts to black. We are left with the message that you live, you die, and that’s it. Period.
I was left with a sharp empty feeling from watching the movie….so sharp I almost felt the hopelessness of an unbeliever. It made me appreciate how hopeless natural man’s state really is. Unless you are very mature and feel like you need to see the world through an unbeliever’s eyes and experience their hopelessness, I don’t recommend it for anyone. Maybe you can watch it with an unbeliever to spark conversation about the meaning of life. Because it’s an empty, sad movie without Christ.
I am extremely glad and thankful for Christ’s redemption and the hope we have in Him. More so now than ever before.
~Congrats Josiah in winning the movie review contest with this submission. Your copy of the prize will be shipping this week.~