On Friday a new faith-based film came out titled A strange Brand of Happy. I went with a handful of friends to go check it out and unfortunately I was disappointed with the overall message of the movie. Naturally, it was a low-budget film that a high schooler could have filmed around town with his/her friends. There also seemed to be a lot of pointless parts in the film because it didn’t move the story forward. There were also a lot of spots in the film where the film makers could have inserted a lot of additional detail and formulated the plot better. Even though these were all filming and playwriting issues, my biggest let down was the lack of focus on Christ. However, it does provoke a lot of thought.
It is incredibly clear that this movie is not about what Christ has done for you. There is no Gospel in this film. Everyone involved with the film would like us to think that this is a great Christian film, when it doesn’t even talk about Jesus in the first place. There are a lot of references to God, but if we look at American culture right now I think that we will find that the trouble is not dealing with the question, “Does God exist?” because the overwhelming majority of Americans do believe in god. The question that Christians need to focus on answering is “What has God got to do with me?” I say this because God has a part with everyone! After all, he made us, and he has brought us back into a relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Now with that said, it takes me to the part of the movie that I actually really liked. A Strange Brand of Happy did make me think a lot about Spiritual gifts and how I have seen God work in my life as well as others lives as well. This is where there is a little meat to this movie. David (the main character) has this very awesome skill of being an artist, particularly drawing and that is a gift from God! For example, what he does is that he is able to look at a person, give them a superpower, put them in a setting and off he goes and he makes a beautiful piece of art every time. (Now before you read more this is a spoiler alert. If you do not want to know how the movie ends do not read the rest of this paragraph). One thing that I think the filmmakers may have missed out on is the spiritual gift of listening and sharing personal testimonies. At the end of the movie, David has talked to nearly all the people at the senior citizen home and he makes a piece of art that tells each of their stories. Most importantly, he focuses on how God has worked in their lives to bring them where they are today.
From what I can tell from the movie is that it bases one’s faith on your personal feelings and actions instead of pointing you to Christ and what He has done for you. Certainly God can use you whether or not you have faith. I mean after all there are a number occurrences of that in the Bible. And someone without faith is certainly able to do good works even without being a Christian because the natural law is written on our hearts. And most certainly does God live in His people through His Holy Spirit whom we have received at our Baptism. We get to experience God through the waters of Baptism as well as at the Lord’s Supper, where He gives us His body and blood to eat and drink which strengthen our faith, not by our feelings, but by His WORD. Trusting in God’s word is the only way for us to know for certain if we have faith or not. Hearing the word of God and receiving the sacraments are the only ways to grow in the one true faith through Christ Jesus our Lord. No matter how we try to rationalize it, feelings and actions do not make us Christians. It is the seeing of our brokenness as shown to us by the Law and the restoration given and won to and for us by what Christ has done on the cross. If you know that you are a sinner and trust in God’s promise given to us through Christ Jesus you are a Christian. As a response we get to share that Gospel message to others through our Spiritual gifts that God has given us. This movie got into the latter, but went around the Gospel. However, I should have known better since “faith-based” is a very loose term.
Anyways, I would love to hear other peoples reviews on it! Because I could have been blinded to the actual message of the movie due to preconceived notions that I had from the movie trailer below. I am still considering taking some people to go see it and have a solid Christ centered discussion around it. It wasn’t a horrible movie as I may or may not have made it sound, but it was definitely entertaining and provoked some thought. It was definitely realistic in its playwrite. I would love to hear what you thought about the movie/my analysis in the comments below. Until next time!