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I know, I know - I've already referenced this Andrew O'Hehir essay on the crapitude of Christian movies here at The Big Screen. I should quit while I'm ahead - which is something people always say right before they refuse to quit while they're ahead. So.

I'm dipping back into the well because I recently went to see Woody Allen's charming nostalgia-fest/anti-nostalgia-fest Midnight in Paris, a film overflowing with literate, cultured people in lovely clothes saying clever things while traipsing about in highly cosmopolitan locales. And who was in attendance at this film? Literate, cultured people in lovely clothes...etc. etc.

That got me remembering this bit from the O'Hehir essay: "If evangelical Christians want to see their life and faith and values reflected on-screen, I guess that's understandable. But movies are not mirrors, and the mass audiences that went to see The King's Speech or Black Swan or The Social Network didn't necessarily identify with the characters or their lifestyles."

No, not necessarily, or at least not completely. But you don't have to be a stuttering king to identify with the struggle to overcome some crippling limitation. And isn't identifying with a protagonist sort of a key component in drama? Isn't that why Tony Soprano was a great protagonist, even though he was a villain? Because we found ourselves shifting uncomfortably in our seats, twisting away from the dark reflection of ourselves on the screen?

The people in the audience at Midnight in Paris were people who enjoyed seeing their lives and values reflected onscreen. In this way, they were just like the Christians who enjoyed seeing their lives and values in Soul Surfer. Sure, Woody made the better movie. But again, I get why the Christians would hunger for stories that involve their particular struggles - and I think Woody Allen fans might agree.


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