I liked it.
I cannot remember a movie that has had a wider range of opinions coming from people who seem to hold the same religious beliefs as “Noah.” I’m not talking about a difference in opinion between atheists and Christians, or even between denominations. I’m saying that if you go ask three different Baptists what they thought about “Noah,” you will probably get three vastly different opinions. Many of you are likely to think that my opinion is garbage.
That being said, your perception of the movie is going to be 100% determined by your pre-determined expectations.
If you are hoping Noah follows the Genesis account line-for-line with as few “liberties” taken as needed to complete the film, you will be incredibly disappointed with “Noah.” You’ll probably find the most trouble with director Darren Aronofsky’s vision of the “Nephilim.” In “Noah” they are depicted as fallen (but not following Satan) angels who are bound to earth, literally. As in, literally, they are covered in rock to take physical form. They help Noah build and defend the ark. It is however, interesting that if you ask 10 preachers about the Nephilim, none of them will tell you they know who they were with any kind of certainty. Thanks to “Noah,” it seems one possibility has been ruled out with great fervor.
But the rock-monsters are the biggest beef I have with this movie because as I revisit Genesis 6, I can’t really say that the rest of the story in the film deviates much from what is actually written in the text. Now, given what is written I highly doubt that a great many of the details surrounding Noah and his family are Biblically correct and would find time justifying a lot of editorial decisions, but I can’t say none of it was possible. (I know this is a vague description, so you’ll just have to see it.)
Another issue that many have but that didn’t bother me a whole lot is that Noah gets pretty depressed and a little crazy. Then again, you might too if you heard people screaming outside as the flood waters take them. Noah gets to the point where is so convinced of the depravity of all that he thinks that even he and his family are meant to be the last people and not repopulate. At one point he almost kills his granddaughters, but *spoiler alert* he doesn’t. The whole situation harkens to Abraham and Isaac with God providing “what is needed” at the right time.
So, why did I like the film?
It preaches. In fact, it preaches a lot. Whether Aronofsky wanted to or not, he made a film full of themes and messages that are entirely Biblical, even if they are not all found in the particular story of Noah.
The doctrines of an intelligent creator, the depravity and fall of man, sin, judgment, mercy and grace are crystal clear in this movie. “Noah” is not an attack on God as far as I can tell. It is made very plain and very believable that humanity is corrupted at heart and deserves judgment.
You want to talk about sinful nature and mercy? In one scene, Noah reminds his wife that they have just as much potential to do evil in their hearts as anyone else and that they are only being saved by the grace of God.
Other Biblical imagery and allusions abound if you are paying attention. I could say a lot more, but the bottom line is that if you can’t strike up a conversation about Jesus after watching, you need to watch it again.
A lot of criticisms have been made that “Noah” is really about environmentalism, but I think that point has been greatly exaggerated by people who make a living talking about politics. People, don’t let politics — even if that’s the message the director is trying to send — interfere with your ability to think critically about the larger messages in this movie. If you want to see a political agenda in this movie, you easily can. But the main point of this movie is not to convince you to be a vegan. However, if you are really bothered by the idea that humans ought to be good stewards of the earth, I would invite you to revisit Genesis 2, 3 and 6.
I’ve also heard the complaint that “God isn’t even mentioned.” That’s just crazy. The characters talk about “the creator” constantly. Biblically speaking, God didn’t give a name for himself until Abram, so how else do you think people would have understood and related to who He was? Given that the movie speaks a lot of Adam, the garden, etc., we can be sure that the creators of “Noah” weren’t trying to pull some stunt. I think using “creator” was the right move.
Ultimately, we need to consider the source of this film. It was directed by an atheist whose last major movie was hailed as a “psycho-sexual thriller.” At the very least, I’d rather more “bad” Christian-themed movies come out than more “psycho-sexual thrillers.”
I don’t know Darren Aronofsky or what he believes or might be thinking about, but when he said he tried to stay true to the message of the Noah story, I believe him. Even if you think Aronofsky’s poking fun at you, don’t play ball.
We need to remember why the story of Noah is in the Scriptures. A lot of history happened that, for one reason or another, God didn’t see the need to have passed-down and recorded. But the story of Noah made the cut because it teaches us about more than just what happened in the past. The reason we teach kids about Noah is to teach about sin, judgment, mercy, grace and ultimately, Jesus. If the story of Noah went, “There was just some guy who built a boat and there was a little flooding and a few people died, the end,” it probably wouldn’t be in Scripture.
But much larger messages are found in the story of Noah, and I believe this film captures them. Of course there are problems, but God can work through that, no problem. Love it or hate it, let’s let God redeem “Noah” for His purposes because this movie does put visuals to a lot of truths.