How to Evaluate Movies

While looking for a source today, I came across chapter 3 of a book by John Frame where he offers 12 ways to judge films. Left unstirred by his list, I compiled a few questions myself to ask about movies.

  1. What does this film encourage you to love?
  2. Does this film desensitize you to the horror of sin?
  3. Does the writing and plot encourage classic and enduring values? Does it–even as entertainment–make you grow to see beauty, complexity, or truth in a previously overlooked area or perspective?
  4. Will this movie enable me to think and meditate more clearly, or does it have the life-sapping, mind-numbing quality of much modern fare?
  5. Is it written for a youth culture that demands constant action, trivial plots, bathroom humor, animal stimuli, and foolish authorities corrected by heroic kids?
  6. Does it glorify unscriptural, unrealistic gender roles?
  7. Is sin consistently punished, or is it sometimes “the only way” to solve the problem?
  8. Does it degrade the sacred? Do the setting, characters, lines, and story massage the viewer’s feelings into enjoying the profane or even the banal?

Yes, I recognize that there is a lot of overlap within the questions, and ultimately they all may be branches projecting off the trunk of the first question. If so, then maybe we’ll get the point: We cannot rightly judge art without examining the effects on our feelings.


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