Movies have a unique ability to make something that’s normally invisible or intangible more immediate and real to us. The entire conceit of film as a medium is that we as viewers must suspend our disbelief, forgetting the possible preposterousness of the images moving before us, and just go with it. So it’s perfectly understandable that something like movies, which require a great deal of faith or at least a diminished level of skepticism, are so profoundly steeped in faith. In some cases, this has been translated into stories meant to take this faith and insert religious themes and messages into the faith-based activity that movie-watching entails.
This is obviously done exploitatively rather often. You’ll have corporations like the Trinity Broadcast Network using movies as essentially a propaganda tool, manipulating people’s affinities for entertainment and spectacle in order to assert the agenda of their particular brand of Christianity. Usually this just results in bad religious movies that few people see, so no harm no foul. Other, better movies, however, have a way of contemplating religious ideas without heavy-handedly nudging the audience to come to a specific conclusion.
There have been a handful of movies, especially recently, that have handled these religious themes extraordinarily well. Here are a list of 6 that I’ve found to be particularly smart in their treatment of faith in the unseen.
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