February 13, 2009


The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2008: What do irresistible robots, racist curmudgeons, and sensitive pachyderms have in common? They're all key characters in the year's best redemptive movies. (Christianity Today, January 27, 2009)

1. Wall•E
directed by Andrew Stanton

"A meaningful masterpiece that offers as much food for thought to adults as it does to children." "Whimsical comedy, thrilling action, threads of Noah's Ark and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and an inspiring mechanical hero—a fusion of R2D2, Woody Allen, and Charlie Chaplin—who reminds us that humanity at its best, living responsibly and passionately, just might help us out of the mess we've made at our worst." "Unconditional love." "A wake-up call to be aware of the beauty that is round us at all times." "A thing of beauty—a true artist's picture that is both entertaining, provocative, subtle, sad, and joyful." "Existential longing, awe and apocalyptic hope form the ambitious thematic terrain of this poetic, mesmerizing film." "A timeless parable about love in the ruins—a testament to the power of love to transform darkness into light."

2. The Visitor
directed by Tom McCarthy

"A withdrawn professor's static life is shaken up—and ultimately enriched—by his unexpected involvement in the lives of a pair of illegal aliens." "When Walter reaches out to two needy immigrants, he changes their lives and redeems his own, becoming a Christ-like sufferer alongside the oppressed." "A tale about the rewards of living with courage, conscience, and compassion." "It buys the right to discuss the U.S.'s treatment of immigrants because it was first and foremost a story of people. I cared for these people." "Though the film tackles a weighty issue and—ultimately—provides no easy answers, it is thoroughly satisfying. It oozes goodness, humanity, and a classy reverence for dignity and trans-cultural decorum." "A film about tricky political issues that eschews polemics in favor of real compassion."

3. Gran Torino
directed by Clint Eastwood

"Eastwood adds an interesting new wrinkle to the themes of mortality, violence, revenge and redemption that have been so prominent in his more recent films." "Some have said that Gran Torino doesn't have a happy ending, but the symbolism of what happens points to loving sacrifice and the complete commitment of one's life for the betterment of others." "We see a man redeemed from hatred to love for neighbors who steadily and persistently showed him love—even when he continually pushed them away." "Profound on a number of levels—a commentary on our contemporary zeitgeist but also a timeless story of redemption, sacrifice, and grace. It's Eastwood working through his own Dirty Harry mythos, atoning for his own cinematic sins in the same way that any of us must reckon with our past as we age and the world changes."

4. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who
directed by Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino

"When the Mayor of Whoville raises his voice to a mysterious, invisible presence in the sky, he shows his people how to live with courageous faith. When Horton risks his own reputation to save microscopic lives, he reminds us of the importance of looking closer, and of serving with humility." "The film encourages us to look both 'up' and 'down'—to humble ourselves and see ourselves as small, yet also to see the greatness that exists in others who we may find all too easy to dismiss." "A wonderful allusion to how God loves us." "Horton has such love for the Whos that he cares for them without fail—and wants to know them, and characters trust and believe without seeing. Neither the Whos nor Horton have 'proof' for the existence of the other except for the voice they can hear. Horton listens to the still, quiet voice and chooses to believe the impossible—even in the face of opposition." "Horton is one of the year's best and most inspiring heroes; celebrates courage, dedication, compassion and even forgiveness."

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2009 9:48 AM
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