It is days before Noah makes its debut in American theaters, but opinions are pouring in. The words are coming from religious leaders, movie critics and even some talk show hosts. Views may vary widely, but there is one sure thing about the movie Noah: opinions are raining day and night.
The movie, based on the story from the book of Genesis, stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone. It proved to be an emotional adventure for some critics, a bust for others. Screen Daily, for instance, said the story line gets lost and the picture “doesn’t do enough right.” The Hollywood Reporter admitted the epic has shortcomings but was still “an arresting piece of filmmaking.” Indiewire called Noah “an epic misfire” and director Darren “Aronofsky’s worst movie.” We Got This Covered labeled it a “powerful yet complicated experience.” A critic writing in Variety said the film is “never less than fascinating” and is “sometimes dazzling.”
One of its stars, Jennifer Connelly said Noah is “true to the spirit of the Bible.” Not surprisingly, though, the movie has drawn mixed reviews from religious quarters. Movie makers had wanted to get a papal blessing from Pope Francis, but fell short. Russell Crowe even sought a private meeting with the pope when he traveled to Vatican City, but was forced to settle for a seat in an “invitation-only” section at St. Peter’s Square. The pope arrived, offering a blessing to the small crowd, but not the movie. Indeed, the official Vatican spokesman said the pontiff would not watch the film.
Nonetheless, other religious leader have watched Noah and their opinions are raining day and night.Karen Cowell of the Hollywood Prayer Network said that the movie “tells a wonderful story” and but still puts across “major truths of God.” Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church called it “a riveting blockbuster” and said that messages of “justice, mercy … and grace shine through.” Noah is “nothing short of fascinating,” said King’s College president, Greg Thornbury. “Deep and thoughtful,” added Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic Church.
But radio host Glenn Beck is not so sure. He is quick to criticize Noah, calling it “dangerous disinformation.” He said he fears that children will mistake the character portrayed in the film as the real Noah and find the film very different from the biblical version. Beck said he hoped the movie will be a “massive failure.”
The movie makers themselves admitted the biblical story itself is very brief and “leaves a lot to the imagination.” As a result, they said, there was abundant room for creative license when constructing the movie’s script. That may be the film’s bless or curse, depending on how it is viewed. While some religious leaders take issue with the script, others think it brought the story in Genesis to life.
American audiences can make up their own minds when Noah hits theaters from coast to coast on March 28. Once mass audiences view Noah, opinions are once again going to be raining day and night.
Commentary by B. David Warner