HOLLYWOOD WORLDVIEWS: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment

Brian Godawa, Author . InterVarsity $14 (204p) ISBN 978-0-8308-2321-5

An award-winning Christian Hollywood scriptwriter offers this rather uneven book on how to watch movies discerningly as a faithful Christian. Godawa's purpose is not to help readers decide which films are worth seeing (for that he refers them to Christian Web sites), but rather how to "read" a film for its messages as opposed to absorbing it only as entertainment. One of his main arguments is that Christians should engage the world of popular culture in order to reform it. Unfortunately, it is not always clear who he expects his audience to be. Sometimes he writes very simplistically; he ends his definition of "worldview" with the phrase "it is our view of the world" and details elements of stories and myths that many high school graduates would be familiar with. But other sections use very academic prose about complex philosophies like existentialism and postmodernism. He reveals a clearly defined, even narrow, view of Christianity by asserting the "correct" way one should live or interpret the Bible. "Rare is the movie that paints an accurate portrait of heaven and hell," he tells us. (Just what, exactly, would an "accurate" portrayal look like?) The fact that each chapter ends with assignments and discussion questions gives it a strong pedantic twist. Despite these flaws, in the hands of the right audience—conservative Christians willing to approach it as a textbook and who don't mind having a few movie plots betrayed—this guide will encourage more thoughtful film consumption without killing the fun of moviegoing. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Paperback - 261 pages - 978-0-8308-3713-7
Open Ebook - 263 pages - 978-0-8308-6953-4
Paperback - 470 pages - 978-1-4596-3288-2
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