I skimmed through a featurette on a movie called The Reader. As I haven't seen it, this won't be about the movie — it will be about about the movie.
With its very capable actors, The Reader (I gather) tells the story of a young man who has a sexual affair with a considerably older woman who turns out to have worked for the Nazis during WWII. Listening to the creative minds behind the story and the film, part of their intent is to blur moral judgment — how do you judge people when lives and situations are so complex? Regular people did atrocious things in WWII. How do you judge them, how do they judge themselves?
Springboarding off of this, I thought (not for the first time) about what makes the film industry see itself as bold, daring, courageous. This would be such a movie. The boy is 15, the woman is more than twice that. Were the sexes reversed, the relationship would be seen as statutory rape or child molesting, in America. See? "Daring." And humanizing someone who contributed to atrocities against Jews, blurring moral judgment (as I gather the movie does, from the doco) — bold, daring.
That's what's bold and daring in Hollywood. Humanizing murderers, rapists, homosexuals, pedophiles, adulterers, nihilists, and various forms of immoral and anti-social behavior. Not for the purpose of clarifying moral judgment, but for the purpose (as the doco states) of blurring the lines.
Now, my point isn't what you may assume it is. Obviously I can't fully judge a movie I've not seen. What I'm judging is Hollywood's narcissistic self-congratulation. It loves to tear down Christian values any way it can — though, paradoxically, it needs those values. Without at least ghosts and echoes of Biblical values, it can have no sympathetic characters, no uplifting message, no structure. But at the same time, it despises those values and wants to silence its own throbbing, guilty conscience by dismantling them - as well as anyone who affirms and tries to live by them.
It's Post-modernism on film. It's Romans 1:18-32, over and over and over again, in living color and CGI.
It's common for the artistic geniuses to "cover" themselves by saying, "I am not saying that [insert immoral/anti-social behavior here] is a good thing, but...."
Okay, fine. Let's accept the statement at face value.
So what would be a truly "daring, bold" film today?
How about a futuristic drama about post-abortion America, in which some pol or doctor or nurse or advocate is coming to grips with the bloody, human slaughter that (s)he'd enabled?
How about a drama about a couple in a sexual relationship, in which one converts to genuine Christian faith, and what follows — told from a perspective sympathetic to the convert?
How about a drama about a Christian family in which a member "comes out" as deciding to act on homosexual passions — told symphathetically from the perspective of family, opening up their self-reproach, doubt, fear; their struggling to understand how to keep God as God, and show love, grace and truth to the child who embarks on this path of repulsive self-destruction? How about portraying the "deeply religious fundamentalists" as compassionate, genuine 3D people?
You could suggest others, I'm sure.
But if the folks behind the last forty years of "bold, daring" movies truly aren't advocating and enabling and rationalizing the behavior they portray so symphathetically — then what could possibly prevent them from making movies such as these?
Except that they're not so bold and daring after all. And they really are advocates.
And they can't see it otherwise (Ephesians 4:17-19).