Why ‘Noah’ Is the Biblical Epic that Christians Deserve, by Justin Chang

He who has ears to hear, let him buy a ticket to Darren Aronofsky’s extraordinary movie

Detractors of the film are in peril of ignoring one of the great recurring themes of Scripture: that God can and does use the most unlikely characters to glorify His name and advance His purposes.

by Justin Chang • Variety

Arronofsky is known for his exploration of heroes who know they are destined for greatness, but for whom greatness proves a terrible burden, like Noah. (Paramount)
Aronofsky is known for his exploration of characters destined for greatness, but for whom greatness proves a terrible burden.  (Photo: Paramount)

Thank God (seriously) for Darren Aronofsky.

In his flawed, fascinating and altogether extraordinary “Noah,” this ever-audacious filmmaker has given us a bold and singular vision of Old Testament times — a picture that dares to handle a sacred text not with the clunky messages and stiff pieties we’ve come to expect from so much so-called “Christian cinema,” but rather with a thrilling sense of personal investment and artistic risk. Crucially, Aronofsky approaches Scripture not with a purist’s reverence but with a provocateur’s respect, teasing out the hard, soul-searching questions that the Word of God, if you take it as such (and I do), was always meant to inspire. He has made a gravely powerful, fully committed, sometimes blisteringly angry film that will fit few Christians’ preconceptions of what a biblical epic should look, sound or feel like, and believe me when I say that this is cause not for condemnation, but for honest rejoicing.

Certainly it’s safe to say that at least a few Paramount executives are popping champagne corks — or, at the very least, heaving sighs of relief — in light of the news that “Noah,” after weathering months of iffy pre-release chatter, opened this weekend to an impressive $77.6 million worldwide ($44 million Stateside), some of which was surely driven not just by widespread curiosity, but also by largely favorable reviews. It should be noted that several of those recommendations were written by critics for Christian publications — many of whom, while eloquent and enthusiastic in their praise, understandably took pains to assure their readers that they could buy a ticket to “Noah” with a clear conscience, without fearing that they were somehow sullying their God-fearing minds in the process.

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