Noah is Not Perfect

When I heard about director Darren Aronofsky’s controversial new film Noah, I couldn’t believe it. I was talking to PR firm Grace Hill Media at the time, which had just signed the contract to cover the film before production was even complete. 

It was true: the stunningly visual and vividly dark director of movies such as Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010) was going to tackle one of the most popular biblical stories from Genesis. And Russell Crowe, of Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001) fame, would take the leading role as a brooding, warrior-like Noah.

Naturally, I was excited but wary. As 2013 waned on, more and more news about the movie came out and the Christian buzz grew louder. Now that we’re on the eve of its release, nobody in the Christian community can agree on whether it’s good or bad. While some pastors and Christian leaders support the film, others condemn it for its imaginative take on the biblical narrative. After attending a private pre-screening at Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, I was able to judge for myself.

My conclusion: I thought it was stunning, imaginative … and painful. It isn’t the run-of-the-mill Bible movie that we’re used to; this movie won’t adhere to all of our biblical conclusions about Noah. And this movie will certainly not give you a nice, happy feeling inside. Before watching the film, you should know these three things:

1. Expect to Be Entertained

If you come to the theater looking for all the ways this movie strays from the inspired word of God, you will be overwhelmed in the first 20 minutes. The writers of this film created a world based on that which we see in Scripture, but all of the gaps are filled with action, drama, and character development that are never found in the text.

2. Expect to Be Shocked

One thing that Aronofsky exploits in each of his films is the brokenness of humanity and its potential to deteriorate. Where other directors will try to satisfy the audience with hope and happy endings, Aronofsky will leave you with mixed feelings. This movie is painful to watch because you find yourself wishing there was a better solution to the destruction of the Earth and its inhabitants, while at the same time yearning for the new world that’s promised throughout the film.

3. Expect to Be Inspired

This movie will test all the things you know about the early chapters in Genesis. There are several interpretations about the Nephilim mentioned in Gen. 6:4, but Aronofsky walks in a direction that you’ve probably never gone before. In the middle of the movie, Russell Crowe gives a monologue on how the Earth was created—but you’ll have to determine whether he was actually quoting Scripture or diverting from the text that we all know and love.

I don’t want to say that Christians should or should not see this movie. The most important thing for all of us to remember as movie-goers and Christians is that we know the difference between what Scripture does and doesn’t say. Whether you are watching this movie, the recently released Son of God, the reboot of Left Behind to be released later this year starring Nicolas Cage, or Ridley Scott’s newest project Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, we need to see who God is and what He is really telling us in Scripture first.

For all of its flaws and variations, there is one thing this movie gets right— all of humanity has inherited the sin of Adam and Eve. Even Noah, who communicated with God, isn’t our perfect savior.

We are fallen creatures in desperate need of the true, best savior to redeem us from the evil of this world once and for all. The real story of Noah points us to the time when the Messiah will come and offer salvation from an eternal flood.

Corum Hughes works on the production team for Haven Today. Drawing from his experiences in managing a McDonald’s, working in mental health, and watching lots and lots of movies—Corum seeks to find Jesus in places he is seldom sought.

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