You were imagining that the film would be better than the book? Never. If you went in with the expectation that it would be an accurate depiction of scripture, you didn’t do your homework. I knew when I read that Darren Aronofsky was writing / directing / producing that it would be a beautifully filmed, well acted, decent story in which I would at some point have to cover my eyes and scream “It’s too much!” And it was. And I did.
Expectations are funny things. We are taught in school as young readers to make inferences and as young scientists to make hypotheses. So we do this in life. We expect things. And ironically, we expect for things to go well. Like Sinatra, we want things to go our way. We cannot possibly gage the next top hit song or recording artist, but we vote on American Idol. People want a voice in popular opinion, but we forget the industry behind big decisions. We forget the power of persuasion, marketing, and media. We forget that directors get a script and film it as they see it. If they also write it, they are interpreting and adapting the literature themselves.
If you walk into Noah with the expectation that you will see the truth of scripture come alive on the big screen without human bias and interpretation, your expectations will be disappointed.
I told myself it would be about as biblically in tune as Inception.
I also read a load of reviews ahead of time. Perhaps I went in guns loaded to prove something and was pleasantly surprised at how professional filmmaking makes such a difference onscreen.
So I ask you to try something new… Be Pollyanna for a moment and look for the good.
I saw a gorgeous and accurate-to-scripture creation narrative. It did not leave God out. It did not excuse or dismiss sin. It did not try to explain it all. It simply showed the story.
The actors in this film were brilliant and on A-game all. Not a moment of cheese in the portrayal, even when playing opposite rock creatures. Talk about changing expectations: when you see rock creatures right away, you set aside your expectations and recall that this had the same amount of biblical connectivity as The Lord of the Rings. The creatures weren’t horrible. They were a mix between Ents and the Rock Biter from The Neverending Story.
Sure, humanity, including Noah and his family, lived like cave men in a post-apocalyptic looking setting in which the real evil is meat-eating…sure. And yes, old people have magic. Also the ark (built mostly by RockBiters) looked more like a floating Costco.
And of course there is that odd side plot to get the boys wives when they were already married in the Biblical account. (So we don’t have to worry about Ham.) And there is that bit about how Noah believes that God wants to wipe out humanity so animals can live, therefore, Noah goes Gladiator and murders people trying to keep them off the ark. That made me sad, because that’s the coolest part of the story! In scripture, Noah preached and built for 120 years begging people to get on the ark and would have taken any who wanted to come. But they only mocked him, and then God closed the door.
And, there was also that post-flood account on the boat…Noah who didn’t hear from God and assumed that God wanted him to end the human race and kill his grandchildren… I screamed, as aforementioned, “It’s too much!” Ridiculous. Come on. That family survived the cataclysmic inundation of the world. Let them live.
Then again. I’ve never felt so kindred with Bible characters as I did watching this film. I call them characters, but they were people like you and me. People. With fears and loves and desires and anger and the capacity for both great evil and great mercy. And those on the ark lived through the tragic death of all of humanity.
Tubal-Cain gives a speech begging God to speak to him. He says he is like God. He believes God’s silence equals rejection. That feels too familiar. No matter what belief people hold to, they crave a higher power and blessing. They want to be chosen, spoken to. They seek externality. How beautiful it is to see that the Bible is called God’s Word, and in it, He promises never to destroy the world with a flood again. He also says He “so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).