This new book in the Gospel according to . . . series will thrill movie buffs and casual fans alike. In an engaging style, author Greg Garrett looks at the theological elements in dozens of classic and recent Hollywood films, including a discussion about what the new openness to spirituality in the movies might mean for the future of American cinema and American religion.
Chapter 1 examines how Hollywood films can shed light on the most basic proposition of Judeo-Christian theology, the existence of God. Movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Field of Dreams, American Beauty, and Magnolia are discussed, along with the works of Alfred Hitchcock and M. Night Shyamalan.
Chapter 2 shows how movies can help explain the way God is and works in the world and in our lives. To Kill a Mockingbird, Cool Hand Luke, The Matrix, and other films are presented here. Chapter 3 explores what Hollywood films can tell us about sin and evil using examples from Double Indemnity, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films, Schindler’s List, and Munich.
In Chapter 4, Garrett looks at the concept of redemption in The Philadelphia Story, North by Northwest, The Fisher King, and other films. Chapter 5 discusses how we should be bringing the values of peace and justice into the world. Robin Hood, Brokeback Mountain, Unforgiven, Glory, and Crash are discussed.
In Chapter 6, Garrett explores the depictions of the church and contemporary Christian belief in the movies and closes with what he sees as a growing openness toward faith stories in our culture.