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"You can't measure the success of a [film] on how many tickets it sells. You can only measure it in how many hearts it changes." Hayao Miyazaki …more »»  
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What’s the deal here?

Have you ever had a blinding flash of clarity about a better life or a better world? A moment where you thought, “Hey, maybe there’s life before death”? It can change you, and it can start with a moment in a movie.

That’s what is about: finding life through film. Whether a film is old or new, we turn things around: We spend less time critiquing a film and more time asking if the film can critique us. With any film, we:

  • Focus first on how a film embodies the best in life — good, true, beautiful things — even if its filmcraft falls short.
  • Tone down (but don’t ignore) our critique of a film’s failings.
  • Allow a film to show ugly sides of life if, by doing so, it might help us see the best in life more clearly.

Why? Because life is better when the world’s a better place, and that starts with us. Whether on DVD or in a theater, we have a good time with film and we want movies to help us get better. Other bits you’ll find on the site:

A angle on film is about how we change from the inside out and how film can help us do that. It works like this:

Change from the inside out

  • Heart. On the inside, in our hearts, is who we really are. A film can show us the best things in life and move us toward loving them.
  • Beauty. Our hearts move with Beauty — good, true, pleasing things. A film can help us feel the joy of real Beauty or the pain of Beauty’s absence.
  • Love. As a film moves us toward Beauty, we can find and live love and relationship with those around us.

Be thoughtful about film

  • Find a film’s heart. Seeing a film, we want more than the fun of the moment. We also want the film’s heart to move us toward the best in life.
  • Take care with content. We see films that dive deep into ugly issues of this life, and thus show ugly things, but we don’t want to enjoy ugly content for its own sake.
  • Consider what to watch. We see a broad range of films, yet we aim to choose better films that enrich our lives with Beauty in the moment and that also help us get better.

I hope you’ll join us.

Randy Heffner

Talk about great films: Once (2007)

Before viewing talk
Both the music and the story are excellent, and the way they are intertwined notably raises the impact and resonance of the film's exploration of ...more »»
After viewing talk
Once strengthened for me the Beauty of relationships and commitment. For a time, Guy and Girl have a wonderful thing going in the music they share and … more »»
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites

A Priest With a Death Sentence: Looking Closer at Calvary
"I don't think it will be winning any awards from the Christian world. ... It takes place in a universe very like ours." …

Looking Closer at Left Behind – The Movie!
This post will be updated over the next few days, so check back as this thrilling — dare I say rapturous? — cinematic occasion…

The Song “Shares the Weaknesses of Most Faith-Based Films”
I’ve received two emails this week asking for my opinion of The Song. This is what I can offer… The Song told me what…

Looking Closer at The Hundred-Foot Journey
As I joined the line to buy tickets for a mid-afternoon matinee showing of Guardians of the Galaxy, I had a rare and unsettling…

Is Chef the Greatest Movie Ever Made About Sandwich-Making?
What are the greatest movie moments that involve sandwiches?…

Have You Ever Changed Your Mind About a Movie? (or How I Got “Dead Poets Society” Wrong)
Alissa Wilkinson, chief film critic for Christianity Today, asked me if I’ve ever changed my mind about a movie… and…

Up for a Celebrity Impressions Road Trip?
It works as a buddy movie, as a "foodie" film, as a meditation on a mid-life crisis, as battle of brilliant improvisational comedians,…

Snowpiercer (2014): A Few First-Impression Notes
Terry Gilliam's Brazil + Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen + Peter Weir's The Truman Show + Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men +…

Critics Vs. Audiences: Whom Shall We Trust?
When I shared some reviews that question the quality of a faith-based film, I received a scornful comment.  So far, I’ve…

Looking Closer at When the Game Stands Tall
"When the Game Stands Tall" is getting a lot of attention in evangelical Christian culture because it's a match made in evangelical…

Updated: 22 Oct 2014, 22:00 UTC


‘Fury’ fuels the ‘war is hell’ mentality without shining fresh light on it
“Fury” is writer/director David Ayer’s latest action film, moving from city streets (“Street Kings,”…

‘The Decent One’: Documentary on Himmler a compelling contribution to Holocaust filmography
  Heinrich Himmler — the Nazi Gestapo chief, head of the German police in the Third Reich, head of the Reich Main Security…

‘The Good Lie’ and the true story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
  Catholic moral theology teaches that it is never acceptable to lie. It also teaches that there is no such thing as a “good…

‘The Giver’ what happens when we destroy what makes us human
  The word “dystopian” has always intrigued me. The easy definition is that it means “anti-utopian,”…

‘Gabrielle’ a sweet story of a young woman struggling for acceptance
  Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) is a 22-year old woman who lives in a group home for cognitively disabled adults in…

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith
  Here is my interview with filmmaker Lydia B. Smith about her revealing and inspiring documentary about the Camino de Santiago…

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a love story for our time
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is in her 17th year of life and fourth year of thyroid cancer. The chemo has severely…

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” has a story for everyone
  When director Emilio Estevez’ feature narrative film “The Way” was released in 2011, audiences across the United…

“Maleficent” – I really liked this movie
  In a time long ago, on the moors of a far away land, all  manner of fairies, pixies, and magical creatures lived happily…

“Amazing Spider-Man 2″
(This is from my column at St. Anthony Messenger, June 2014 issue) It’s graduation day for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and…

Updated: 22 Oct 2014, 22:00 UTC