- MemberMay 1, 2020 at 8:40 pm
The question of “What is a Christian film?” has intrigued me for years. Instead of defining it, I have found it much easier to simply categorize movies on one side of the fence or the other. For example, I Can Only Imagine is a Christian film whereas Hacksaw Ridge is not. Trust me, I am not in any way discrediting the latter, but how one defines the term “Christian film” varies slightly depending on the individual’s perspective. For me, I would define Christian films as: “Films which are created by Christian production companies, from a Bible-based perspective usually concerning themes and/or subject material related to Christianity.” Therefore, examples such as The Passion of the Christ, Hacksaw Ridge and The Chronicles of Narnia Series do not apply here and would fall under the secularly-produced category, even though they all in some way positively acknowledge Christian ideology.<div>
Obviously, one does not have to be a member of the faith to produce something related to a religion, but there are plenty who have chosen to do so anyway, whether to uplift, analyze or discredit. All of this to justify my opinion on the original question, I will say this: Moms’ Night Out is the best Christian film ever. It may sound like a shocking answer from me, but hear me out. One of the Erwin Brothers’ earlier works, the movie was produced for $5 million, released in 2014 and brought in about $10.5 million at the box office. The film currently holds an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 25 on Metacritic. It may not sound like a smash success, but Moms’ Night Out did a few particular things that made it stand out to me:
1. I originally did not realize it was a Christian film. Based on the poster, I assumed it was secular and didn’t think of it again until my parents received free passes to see <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>Moms’ Night Out from Affirm Films (a Christian film company). Telling a story about something anyone can understand or relate to, such as being stressed out and wanting a night out with friends and then figuring out how God fits into that, is the right way to tell stories through film.
2. The target audience for <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>Moms’ Night Out would be middle-aged, American, white, Christian women. I only fall into two of those categories – white and Christian, and I still quite enjoyed the movie. That’s a true sign of quality filmmaking – getting approval from those outside of one’s target audience, which are not always so specific.
3. It does not take itself too seriously. Some Christian movies can be overly contentious, leaving non-Christians feeling unwelcome or confused. <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>Moms’ Night Out is a comedy, but still deals with its important messages in a meaningful, respectful way.
4. The movie was not extremely overt in its messages concerning Christian principles: a person’s sense of worth and value should come from God and not from oneself or others. The film reinforces this idea by focusing on quality of the spiritual content over the quantity of it. A few critical moments really count, but overall <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>Moms’ Night Out tells a story about characters who are Christians, the protagonist struggling with doubts concerning her worth as a mother in particular, without going too far into the realm of “preaching.” Upon one viewing with some of my friends, one of them noted, “This is the least Christian Christian movie ever!” (being a compliment).
I also want to put a plug in for <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>The Case for Christ, which is very well-acted and written; that and <i style=”font-family: inherit;”>Moms’ Night Out are the two standout Christian films for myself.
I also would like to acknowledge ten lesser-known secularly-produced films that may not specifically be about church, the Bible or God, but still have strong Christian characters or stories that uphold Christian beliefs*:
42 (Chadwick Boseman, 2013)
Amazing Grace (Ioan Gruffudd, 2007)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Tom Hanks, 2019)
Concussion (Will Smith, 2015)
Free State of Jones (Matthew McConaughey, 2016)
Hacksaw Ridge (Andrew Garfield, 2016)
Hidden Figures (Taraji B. Henson, 2016)
Lilies of the Field (Sidney Poitier, 1963)
Selma (David Oyelowo, 2014)
Tender Mercies (Robert Duvall, 1983)
The Crown (A Netflix Original Series):
Season 2, Episode 6 – Vergangenheit
Season 3, Episode 7 – Moondust
<i style=”font-family: inherit;”>*I do not endorse all content, views or messages shared in these movies/series. Most of them are intended for adult audiences and should not be associated in whole with my own worldview. Everyone should decide based on the multitude of resources available what content is appropriate for them and their family.