I love this book. I first heard about it when I was in college, taking my Apologetics Readings Course. As I was going through the lists of books about defending the Christian faith, this book stood out above the rest. Since it was on the lists of optional readings, I ordered it right away! I enjoyed this book’s insight about understanding the messages within movies and how important it is to understand the messages they are trying to communicate. This book was by far my favorite book I read that semester and in some ways has become one of the motivations I have had in writing reviews on this blog. The content on this book is just as relevant now as it was when it was published. Any Christian 15 or older would benefit greatly for reading this book ~ Bethel
We love movies. But more than that, we loved to be entertained. We are quick to watch the newest movie at anyone recommendation. When movies satisfy us, we watch them again and again. When we dislike movies, especially ones based off of known books or stories, we are quick to verbalize disappointment. But either way, we often just watch the movies to be entertainment, not to get something out of it intellectually or spiritually. We often let our guard down for the sake of being entertained. As a result, the messages that are being communicated through the film are not being filtered or being contrasted against personal beliefs. We often don’t have the tools needed to discern the messages communicated in our favorite movies. It leaves us to ask the question: how can we discern what moviemakers are communicating in films today?
In the book Hollywood Worldviews, former screenplay writer Brian Godawa tells us how to discern the messages being communicated in the movies we watch and not just being pacified by them. Godawa uses his writing experience to explain the structure of storytelling in films, which is essential for quality and significant in understanding the messages with films. We walk through the reality of worldviews that are communicated in every film we watch, whether we realize it or not. Godawa explains two of the most prevalent views present in films produced by Hollywood, existentialism and postmodernism. He also presents the reality that Hollywood’s portrayals of spirituality, faith, and even angels and demons, are tainted, often with the intention of making Christians look foolish and intellectually inferior as a result of blind faith. But even in the middle of all the conflicts in worldviews portrayed in films, he concludes that even though Hollywood is seemingly opposed to us, there is still a way to watch movies with integrity in our faith, finding a way to be in the world but not of it. This is all explained in a friendly writing style with examples for several films to illustrate his point. This is a great book and can be a fantastic resource, especially if you work with teens or are the parents of teens. I highly recommend this book to anyone! Get a copy today!
[Note: I did not realize until after I completed this review that the edition of this book I own is actually out of date. The first edition is dated 2002. The second edition, which has an eye on the cover, is dated 2011. This version of the book has more updated film and media example than the edition I read and reviewed. If you plan to purchase this book, make sure it’s the more recent edition]