Roger Ebert on redemption

Roger Ebert on redemption July 1, 2008

Roger Ebert’s latest blog entry is a keeper.

One of the most prolific and intelligent contributors to the comments section of the blog is Soloman Wakeling. I wrote in curiosity, asking to know more about him. He replied that he is a 24-year-old law student from Australia, and that one of his problems is, “I read too many books.” There was one thing he said that I felt I needed to write about in the blog: “I find your work is filled with an essentially humanitarian philosophy, dealing with concepts like redemption.”

The first half of his statement I hope is true. The second part is certainly true. Let us set aside all of the films that are essentially entertainments (although they have their uses and pleasures, too). I am thinking now about the remaining titles, which deal seriously with human lives. The ones that affect me most deeply are the ones in which characters overcome something within themselves or the world, and endure.

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4 responses to “Roger Ebert on redemption”

  1. Well, I can at least say, after reading that, that “humanitarian philosophy” is the correct phrase to use. Ebert’s concept of redemption seems to be entirely human-centric… it’s all about what we do to redeem ourselves. God, in this world-view, is at best a pleasant abstract concept.
    From my perspective, movies that show the need for redemption but leave humanity alone, required to redeem itself, make me very sad for all those who don’t know Christ. One relevant movie example is “What Dreams May Come.” I walked out of that movie thinking how beautifully filmed it was, and what a depressing world-view it represented. And very, very thankful that I’m not single-handedly responsible for saving my family from a horrible after-life.

  2. Oh, interesting questions. I gave Wanted a 3-star review in CT, and I doubt I could have mustered that much enthusiasm for WALL*E. But that may be partly because I entered one film with low expectations and the other with semi-high expectations. Or it may be because I enjoy a good pulpy comic-book of a movie that raises questions about fate and free will (and the potential for evil if free will does exist) more than I enjoy a movie that can’t decide whether it’s a political satire, a simple romantic fable, or something else entirely. But the two movies are really apples and oranges, so it doesn’t feel fair to compare them, really — even if they are both basically about male worker drones whose lives are changed when they come into contact with gun-toting females.

  3. “Let us set aside all of the films that are essentially entertainments”
    And this is why I love Ebert so much – he shares my basic approach to which movies are worth our time. Life is too short to watch bad movies, and although so many of my friends tell me I’m “too hard on movies,” I believe so many of us are not hard enough on movies. When a movie like Wall-E is playing, why would anybody go watch Wanted? What will I learn about the human condition from the latter?

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