Flood of Controversy Swells Around Movie “Noah”


russell_crowe_inlineThe motion picture Noah is no stranger to controversy. Since those four letters have been put up in lights, they have been greeted by hot debate on creative liberties taken with biblical text and wide speculation as to what critics think the movie will be like.

In Genesis, the account of Noah has several clear points; while the text is very particular about the size of the ark, there are parts of Noah’s journey to building, and subsequently living, in the ark that are not meticulously documented.

“That was a big challenge of the movie; filling the story in a way that was consistent with what we did have in scripture,” says Ari Handel, co-writer of the script in an interview on set during production. “The truth is: where there was information, it was incredibly helpful because we used those places where we had concrete information as a signpost to hang and it helped us create the story.”

Can there be an acceptable balance between the definitive truth of scripture and creative liberties taken to improve the dramatic emphasis of the movie? Gabe Lyons, founder of the organization Q, seems to think so. “It is big and did this epic story justice; the younger set of evangelicals will love that this goes “off script” a bit from a traditional biblical story. Son of God hit an older demo that loves “Christians in Hollywood” stories. But this is an epic film and will benefit from the current controversy by not following a literal approach.“

Mainstream big budget movies of faith are rare these days, especially on such an international stage. While many movies have focused on the life of Jesus, “Noah” gives an opportunity for viewers to get a glimpse of an Old Testament story; something that hasn’t happened since the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments”.  By creating a movie of this scale and magnitude and conveying thematic biblical truths, it is essentially appealing to a much broader audience and delivering a scriptural message to moviegoers who might not have otherwise read the Bible. It also opens up the potential for other religious epics to come down the pipeline.

Though “Noah” is not without its critics, Jonathan Bock, President and Founder of Grace Hill Media and Strategic Adviser to Paramount Pictures says, “Much has been written about Aronofsky’s Noah by people who haven’t seen the film, precious little of it accurate. As someone who has seen the film more than a dozen times already, I can assure you that Russell Crowe’s Noah is, at his core, a brilliant and unforgettable metaphor for God.  In Scripture, God sees His beautiful creation turn its collective back on Him and His anger is warranted.  But by the end of the Biblical account, God has chosen grace and love in the form of a promise and a rainbow. Throughout the film, Noah also wrestles mightily to balance justice with mercy. Make no mistake, Darren has masterfully colored outside the lines of rigid Biblical orthodoxy – but to the benefit of us all.”

This movie has compelling story elements and appeal to the mass market as both a disaster movie and a family drama. Noah has the potential to deliver powerful, insular biblical truths all while entertaining audiences with its epic appeal.


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About the Writer

Erin Warkentin is a freelance writer and blogger. She loves Netflix binge watching, reading and traveling (preferably to Disneyland).

When she’s not writing at UPtv, you can find her belting out the Frozen soundtrack alongside her three small children.