A Pledge of Allegiance: In Search of Beauty at Good Letters

Today, Good Letters — the blog published by Image at Patheos — posted my reflections on Empire of the Sun, a Steven Spielberg film that I love more and more as the years pass.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to write about it for Good Letters, as I’m grateful for the whole four-year experience there.

As I wrote earlier, I am taking a long sabbatical in order to focus on other projects. Here is an index of all of the Good Letters posts I turned in. Some of the time I offered reluctantly at the deadline, as I still wasn’t quite satisfied after half a dozen drafts. Others I wrote in one swift draft and was completely satisfied. But overall, when I look back at two decades of film reviews, this is the body of work that best fulfills the goals I’ve set for myself as a reviewer.

And as I think back through these columns, I’m struck by how rarely my post was ever actually about “critiquing the film.” It was more about testifying, bearing witness to what the film reflected back to me about my life, the world I live in, and all of the ways in which I still need to grow.

These are my favorites…

Man on Wire

The Muppet Movie - Part 1Part 2

Moonrise Kingdom

Chariots of Fire - Part 1Part 2

A River Runs Through It

Empire of the Sun

Pina

The Arts and Faith Top 100 Films

The Arts and Faith Top 25 Horror Movies

The Master

Where the Wild Things Are

 

And here are the rest of the adventures…

“The Actor in Question”: On Talent and Celebrity

“The Mystery in Materials”: On the Value of the Real and the Handmade in Movies

A Serious Man

Avatar

Beginners

Certified Copy

Compliance

Coraline

DoubtFrost/Nixon

Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

Films About Women - Part 1Part 2

Films of 2008: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Films of 2009: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Films of 2010: Part 1Part 2

Films of 2011: Part 1Part 2

First Position

Holy Motors

HoneydripperBe Kind Rewind

Inception - Part 1Part 2

Inglourious Basterds - Part OnePart Two

Jane Eyre

Let the Right One In

Lorna’s Silence

Lourdes

Lucky Life

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky - Part 1Part 2

Mine

Mirrormask

Munyurangabo

My Kid Could Paint That

My Week with Marilyn

On Sequels, Nostalgia, and Redundancy

Penelope

Police, Adjective

Seraphine

Shotgun Stories

Sound Designer Pete Horner - Part 1Part 2

Stone

Summer Hours

Synecdoche, New York

The Adjustment Bureau

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Fighter

The Films of Jim Jarmusch - Part 1Part 2

The Five Obstructions

The Gleaners and I

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Kid With a Bike

The New World

The RoadThe Girlfriend Experience

The Secret of Kells - Part 1Part 2

The Secret of the Grain

The Social Network

The Taste of Tea

The Tree of Life - Part 1Part 2

The Wolfman

Times and Winds

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Up

War Horse

Waste Land

Watching Movies at the Glen Workshop

Win Win, Another Year

Winter’s Bone

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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