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A scene from <i>Gravity</i>
Associated Press/Warner Bros. Pictures
A scene from Gravity

The Gravity of it all

Movies

Cashing in an old $25 Christmas gift card—plus the price of a hamburger and fries—my husband and I went to see the movie Gravity in 3-D. We felt like we had climbed into astronaut gear with Sandra Bullock and space walked with George Clooney.

Add Gravity to my list of movies that know how to entertain without resorting to sex and gore. They almost had me fooled for a while (“they” being Hollywood and modern culture) that you need those ingredients in order to be a respectable grown-up movie. They almost had me convinced that any film that was clean must be insipid, “Christian,” and have low production values.

But when I saw Quiz Show (1994) I was ashamed of myself for having thought that way, for having bought the lie. For it is a lie. Apollo 13, Chariots of Fire, Jean de Florette, and My Dinner with Andre all relied on story line and not salaciousness and proved those stock cinematic crutches unnecessary.

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In the old-time movies, if it was necessary to indicate that a man and woman went to bed together, there was a cutaway to a train entering a tunnel. That sufficed. The apostle Paul is the one who tells us where to draw the line on how much is too much skin. He wrote to the Corinthians:

“Our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.”

We do not know why this is the rule, but it is the rule. And we do not have to understand God to obey Him.

When I was a teen, I went through an obnoxious phase in which I decided that “honesty” meant tactless truth. It wasn’t a hit with my friends and family, so it didn’t last long. Likewise, in filmmaking, it is a deception foisted by the devil and blithely spouted by his spokesmen that “realistic” movies must show all and withhold nothing.

In a momentary lack of good sense, an uncle of my 12-year-old son took him to see Hannibal without my knowledge. It wrecked him. The next few days he was shattered, and the long-term effect was a permanent loss of innocence. We think, “Ah, that’s terrible. Kids shouldn’t see such evil.” And we suppose that when we are adults, and mature Christians, we can “handle” it. It is interesting to me that the Bible never takes that view and instead cautions us adults against defiling our imaginations with such fare. Paul wrote, again to the Corinthians:

“Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit.”

The title of the movie Gravity was a double entendre, of course. The plot invites us to ponder not only a Newtonian law of physical bodies, but also the need for putting away foolishness and getting serious about what is good and wholesome and needful in life.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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