Ever wondered what makes a movie be considered a Christian movie? I mean think about it really. Is it the title or that it's got references to Christianity or God? Movies such as ‘The Passion of Christ’, ‘The Case for Christ’, ‘God’s not Dead’, 'Hackshaw Ridge’ and many more alike are posed in Hollywood under the genre ‘Faith-based’ or ‘Christian movies’ due to the foundation in which the storyline finds itself or the reference to Christ/Christianity. Are these type of films only going to interest the Christian audience? Is that the aim? Thats a-whole-nother subject!
Movies vary in different production sizes and budgets, and not all succeed in being near enough to break Box Office records. For some, the recognition is fulfilled from word of mouth, festivals or online movie streaming sites like Pureflix and ChristianCinema.com or even YouTube. These include small-budgeted films like ‘The War Room’ and ‘Facing the Giants’, who have received great reviews and average scores on IMDb. It does however pose further questions as to whether budget size does really matter in how successful a film will be in the long-run and whether people will even watch it if it doesn’t have some big names in it and the polish of Hollywood.
Nevertheless one thing I want to focus on for now is whether references to Christ/Christianity or the Bible/Bible characters is what makes viewers consider a movie to be in fact Christian. Netflix is supposedly acquiring a new faith-based series called ‘Messiah’ to its streaming site. The 10-episode web series is said to challenge the meaning and existence of the ‘I Am’ in Hollywood as well as challenge us to examine what we believe and why as it creates a lucrative business within the entertainment industry. Furthermore, the Den of Geek* report that, "The series looks to provocatively consider the emergence (or reemergence?) of a figure claiming to be the Messiah in the modern world and promises to be a challenging new take on faith-based content”
New take? Confusion more like! With this speculation in place does this controversial web-series really come under a Christian genre simply due to the title? (As it clearly isn’t biblical!) Realistically, yes (which is the sad truth) because it is an amalgam of the familiarity of religion and popular themes within Christianity that often motion pictures portray. Take out or add some stuff based on what is seen as controversial/popular to be a success but still call it Faith-based. Though genres can be scrutinised and reassessed it communicates a “shorthand” and lazy explanation on the feel of the film or series.
In all, this seems like a pretty tough topic to crack because from what we understand as genre to classify a particular film, can tarnish the representation of Christianity all because of a reference to Christ or assuming to encompass the topic of Christianity despite it hurting the credibility of what we believe. It truly poses the question if it’s really fair for Christians to have to accept web-series like the ‘Messiah’ or films like 'Noah', which are greatly flawed in terms of biblical accuracy and convoluted concepts (such as rock Giants!?..say no more!) as a “Christian film”.
Overall, the big question here as in the title is, ‘What makes a Christian movie Christian’?
Let’s get talking!
Enjoy your week!