What Christian movies need so badly to be good

Posted April 12

What makes a so-called "faith-based" film good?

Here's a hint: It's something many movies aimed at Christians, such as the critically panned "God's Not Dead 2," don't often have — sophisticated ambiguity.

"(Faith-based movies) may find audiences of Christians (many of whom already agree with the story’s underlying message), but that doesn’t mean they are impacting culture as much as they could," Relevant's Jesse Carey reported. "Jesus wanted people to dig deeper, to ask questions that got to bigger answers."

Perhaps the biggest support of this argument isn't as evident on the big screen as on TV screens, where religious ambiguity is turning into critical successes for outlets like HBO, FX and Hulu.

HBO's "The Leftovers," FX's "The Americans" and Hulu's newly released "The Path" all feature plots deeply entwined with questions of faith and all enjoy critical praise.

The operative word being "questions" — as critical feedback of these shows demonstrate, faith isn't so much frowned upon in entertainment but rather the single-mindedness of the ventures labeled as "Christian" fare.

To make an impact outside of its intended audience, more Christian films may need an injection of doubt to galvanize believers.

"Life is reduced to an after-school special with prayer thrown in for good measure," critic Scott Nehring wrote. "For me, this is where the dry heaving begins."


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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