by Lee Hull Moses
I think I’ve told you before that at one point in my life – a lifetime ago, now – I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to make documentary films about interesting people, and I wanted to write screenplays that told good stories. (For awhile, I was working on a project called The Great Jesus Movie. It’s probably a really good thing my career took a different direction.) That’s probably why I have come to look forward to our August movie series every year, this month when we take a look at a different film each week and see what it has to say to us about the practice of our faith.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the written word, the way a few marks on a page, arranged in just the right configuration, can convey truth and beauty and inspire us to action. But there’s also something about film that captures our imagination in a completely different way. Word and image and sound all come together and bring a story to life and invite us in. A good movie includes all kinds of talents, too: musicians and actors, editors and sound technicians, camera operators and directors.
This week, I’ve been particularly taken with the talents of Julia Roberts, who plays the mom in Wonder, our movie of the week. Her performance captures what it means to be a mom (an unrealistically beautiful and wealthy mom, but still). You can see in her face the longing she has for her children, that they be safe and loved and happy. You can see the tension in her shoulders as she gets pulled in so many directions, trying to keep all the parts of herself together. You can see in her eyes the guilt she carries for the mistakes she’s made and the pain she carries from all she and her family have been through together. It’s a beautiful bit of acting in a whole film of beauty and grace.
We’ll talk about that on Sunday, along with some other good stuff from the movie, and we’ll hear some ancient words of scripture that come to life as well. I hope you’ll join us this week, and in the weeks to come. Here’s what we’re up to for the rest of this series:
August 12: Wonder
Here’s the trailer.
You can also check out the original book by R.J. Palacio.
August 19: Come Sunday
This is a Netflix original movie, so if you don’t have Netflix, you can also listen to this podcast, which tells the same story and was the inspiration for the film. (This is also the only movie in our series that isn’t particularly kid-friendly.)
August 26: Moana
You can find this just about anywhere these days. Or ask some five-year-olds, and they’ll probably be able to perform it for you.
September 2: Wonderstruck
This is an Amazon movie (here’s the trailer), but you could also check out the really amazing original book by Brian Selznick.