Christian Response to Aronofsky’s ‘Noah:’ Downright Embarrassing

I have not seen Darren Aronofsky’s Biblically-themed epic Noah.

You have not seen Noah.

No one has seen Noah, except perhaps Aronofsky himself. It’s not finished yet. (Although an early version was shown to test audiences, yes.)

Yet, the self-appointed forces of Biblical Orthodoxy are coming out against it.

Just because, you know….Bible.

As Peter Chattaway posted, the same PR firm that campaigned for Duck Dynasty during the recent Culture War moment is now riling the faithful up against Aronofsky’s Noah, a MOVIE NO ONE HAS SEEN.

They use this shockingly, horrifyingly, embarrassingly leading question:

“As a Faith Driven Consumer, are you satisfied with a Biblically themed movie – designed to appeal to you – which replaces the Bible’s core message with one created by Hollywood?”

When the respondent inevitably answers “no,” the poll result is taken as a hit against the film WHICH NO ONE HAS SEEN.

No wonder Hollywood wants to steer clear of faith audiences. With crazy stunts like this, who can blame them?

It’s just embarrassing. The movie may be good, it may be bad, it most likely is a mix.

It may challenge our cute, fuzzy understanding of the story. It may even challenge our faith.

That’s what art is supposed to do.

And, let me tell you, “Faith Driven Consumers,” if you associate the story of Noah with adorable animals smiling under a sunny rainbow, you’re reading the story wrong. It’s the story of one man, one single man, chosen with his wife and descendants, to survive a mass extinction. It’s dark, horrible judgement and a story with which believers should wrestle.

Not one they should put up on a nursery wall.

If you’re ok with a simplistic, two-sentence explanation of the Noah story, you’re hiding from the deeper, darker, richer, and ultimately life-giving aspects of the Bible.

But whether the story follows our unchallenged idea of what “Biblically accurate” is, whether it actually goes against the Christian faith (Aronofsky is Jewish, and they had the story first), or whether it is exactly what you’ve always imagined…..

We just don’t know.

So stop fighting against something we don’t know about yet.

Please.

You’re embarrassing me as a Christian believer.

If you want to know more about the Noah movie, we’ve been covering it extensively.

image: Gustav Dore woodcut h/t Dave Lilley

About Rebecca Cusey

Rebecca is a lead critic and editor of entertainment at Patheos. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey

  • Amanda Long Lemke

    Love this! Well said! I have always said, if you don’t like it, then do it better. Funny how the complainers, don’t strike out and do one better. Even if everyone in the US had seen this movie and complained, how many “new” Noah movies are being made….none that I know of. The complainers will always be complainers….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk Rebecca Cusey

      Yes. Good point.

  • http://philcooke.com Phil Cooke

    I HAVE screened “Noah” Rebecca, and yes – there are a few rather wild interpretations of the story that deviate from the Biblical text. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled that when the movie is released, millions of people will be talking about the Noah story. That opens a remarkable door for Christians to share the REAL story with their friends. I work in Hollywood, and the studios don’t pay attention to sites like “Faith Driven Consumer.” Besides, do we REALLY expect secular studios to get these stories 100% right? Rather than criticize, maybe we should start working with the studios. After all, if boycotts and criticism worked, why don’t missionaries do it? Yep – let’s start surrounding villages holding signs, calling them names, and criticizing them. Sure – that will win them to Christ…. It doesn’t work with missionaries, and it won’t work in Hollywood.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk Rebecca Cusey

      Thanks for commenting, Phil. Did you screen the whole movie? Was it a finished product?

      I’m actually ok with the Bible being source material that can be drawn on for inspiration. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think people want literal interpretation but even that gets tricky. I’d rather have an atmosphere where people make movies that wrestle with faith and Bible and meaning and maybe are off from exact orthodoxy….than the militant secularism that has reigned so far.

      Let’s have a conversation about faith. I’m all for that.

      And in order to have a conversation, we have to listen first.

      • http://philcooke.com Phil Cooke

        Yes – it was the entire film. There’s some work to be done with final visual and effects tweaks, but it was the final cut. I totally agree with you. Making indictments without seeing a film is irresponsible.

    • Agni Ashwin

      What wild interpretations would those be?

    • http://philcooke.com Phil Cooke

      Maybe “wildly creative” was better. How he treats the Nephilim is interesting, plus things related to family dynamics. A few deviations from the scriptural text. For me, nothing that overcomes the fact that Paramount Pictures is putting nearly $300 million into a Biblical story, that will allow us a national platform for discussing the Bible.

  • http://www.churchformen.com/ David Murrow

    I predict a flood of criticism, followed by a deluge of bad press. Now is the time to put forth an olive branch.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk Rebecca Cusey

      ha!

  • ononymous

    The Duck Dynasty people say it replaces the message of the story. The morale of this story is that we are all evil and deserve to die under a wrathful god.


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