A writer has an approach to their work. For me, this is being conducive to my readers. I think this is what every writer wants. To sound conducive and not banging on about something. This is how I approached reviewing films. To sound conducive. Films were not my flavor of the month though But I started writing with something I knew about, as in the 1980’s, before the year 1990, I was an avid moviegoer and knew them all pretty well. In 1990, my views of movies changed.
In 1990, five years before reviewing, I chose to avoid the movies because of keeping with my faith. In 1995, I took a different tact on the movies. I chose to review films and therefore see them, from a faith desire — to bring some sort of faith perspective to film — and it would seem, going by my previous five years of general avoidance of film, that I would have a negative view to start reviewing with.
But I knew that in order to be accepted I had to be conducive in my writing and not sound so negative. Yet, as I look between the lines of my early, quite positive sounding film reviews, I can tell which point of view I would have taken, on some movie’s theme or idea mentioned in the review. And my view would have been negative.
But I wrote in a way that covered up any perceived “flaws” in my philosophy so to be accepted. I found over the four years writing for GiveWay that they, the readership and others, were generally more accepting of movies than I pretended I was and that their Christian philosophy was different to mine. But in order to be accepted as a new writer, one should sound conducive, so I thought.
It wasn’t until late 1996 that I came out of my hibernation as I needed to stick to a Christian perspective and all I knew was the negative viewpoint of movies. The foul language, the violence, the unnecessary love making in front of my eye and not inside the privacy of a room. At least I had been consistent, in that my real feelings about movies since 1990 were now coming forward rather than being hid behind a few words in my early reviews.
The Bible says bad company corrupts good character and so the company I was inadvertently keeping had no qualms about watching movies with foul language, violence and sex scenes, and they were Christians. The movies they watched were a level above the general mainstream. They were darker, more perverse, worldly and troubling. I did not like them, but their influence made me contemplate an impossibility that was not present before as well as openly reading books about film theories that made me think twice. I started to think: Should one look beyond the surface of a movie and look to the themes? This would somehow, so I might have thought, bridged the gap between my reservations with the dark side of movies, my newly found “friends” who enjoyed it, and how uncool I sounded in my reviews. So, I explored this newly found approach quite freely with my new mates as we went to the movies.
My editor at the time was very pleased that my reviews were now “thinking outside the box” and “not so religious”. In retrospect this was ludicrous coming from a Christian, but religion was something some Christians avoided at all costs and treated it with a long yardstick so I discovered.
As the years flew by reviewing, I imposed my Christian perspective out of a free state of mind on movies. These movies could not be called Christian by this or that or just by their general ‘demeanor’. But I imposed a Christian viewpoint, justifying it by a desire to bring my faith to the movies. But somehow it felt to be the wrong approach.
My reviews at different periods reflect these various phases which would have to be more about the self-development of the writer than any knowing and organized approach. But one chooses the safe course at first and also one must keep learning about the subject of films and where one fits in, if at all.
In the final analysis, my approach to faith and films (faith is important to me) makes better sense in terms of how I started in 1990 when I had a negative view of movies. But since then, I have listened more and added balance, but to still come back to my original view yet in a more conscious and healthy state.
Reality is, some people think Christian people like a certain kind of film, but there are Christians who will watch anything they like be that whatever, and as for me, it was always by a case by case basis. As for now, I am realizing what Christian perspective I am siding with more than the other perspectives, and it comes a little reluctantly, but I think it is the truest to my faith. I intend to come from this Christian perspective, which some may find quite simple, but is when I know I am doing what’s right in accordance with my faith, and I hope would make others think or even inspire, whatever is possible.
My desire is to be true and not a false witness. I am very much an independent presence, in that I would feel out of place with the very conservative in a theatre watching Abbot and Costello, and uncomfortable with the liberal, but am more at home with the ordinary everyday movie goer, focused on what matters in any given film, in view of a Christian perspective.