You know what they say about how you don’t want your pastor (or any church friend) catching you watching a movie with, well, nudity and the sorts?
Well, this isn’t about that. :-) Whew! Thankfully, I was not “caught” doing the deed, so they say. Wasn’t even intending to. But I did end up watching a movie that showed a little bit of nudity.
Let me start it this way. On a very random day, I decided it was time for a solo movie. I didn’t really have the time to check up on reviews as I was already at the mall. There were four showing —and the choices were varied: an action film, a rom-com (romantic-comedy), a Filipino film (with a good enough following and heaping praises) and the other one, I forgot.
The rom-com featured Rachel McAdams. And I do love her. I love her style, her natural acting, her smile, and for some reason, she sort of fits the rom-com genre. So in came About Time, describing itself as a “funny film about love.” It’s about a very awkward yet charming British guy named Tim (played by Domhnall Gleeson who you might remember as Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter series) who narrates the funny stories involving his family, growing up, and finding out one day about a secret passed on to the men in their family that would change and alter the course of his life forever. The secret? That he could time-travel.
So yes, I was hooked. I loved the film. There was a refreshing vibe to it, almost wholesome, I thought. It was light and comical and I was giggling the whole time, and it reminded me so much of the British humor in Notting Hill where the director of this movie, Richard Curtis, is more known for.
Now onto Facebook. So I shared with everyone that I thought the film was lovely, and that they should go watch it. Cindy, the wife of our dear Pastor in church, Pastor David, posted a comment and inquired innocently. “We thought we might try it but saw that it is rated R for language and sex scene. Not so?”
I didn’t want to rush into answering, “no, the movie was okay!” because if carefully examined, there were scenes like that. Expletives coming from one of the characters, a sarcastic theater director, whose F-word more than littered the movie, and some nudity (Rachel McAdams stripping down, and some bed scenes that were not graphic).
But as I was typing my answer –I couldn’t quite get myself to explain how I thought the movie wasn’t on the level of some other Hollywood rom-com who had more sex scenes to show. It wasn’t like Cruel Intentions so I thought it was on a lesser scale.
I called up my friend Meryll and asked her quite simply, “how do you word it? Because the sex scenes were really short, in fact, it sort of just showed them sleeping together, no action or anything.” Even getting myself to say that sounded awkward.
In the end, without wanting to sugarcoat or cover up anything, I decided to just tell it as it is. “Hi Tita Cindy. It is rated PG-13, and yes, some nudity and expletives. Movie did not focus on them but yes, they are there.”
You’d be blind not to see them.
The point I want to make, and where this post is going, is how popular culture (and the world) really sneaks up to us and defines for us what is rated “R” or not, what is “acceptable” to society, what is considered watchable by the general public. The fact that the movie did not concentrate on the sex, or that the overall theme was about life, decisions, and family love, I really thought the movie did appear wholesome.
But the questions are valid especially if one asks a Christian. If it is rated PG-13, does it mean we’d go see it since we’re well over that age? Does something that go by a rating of R mean only the mature can watch it? What is and isn’t graphic these days? I don’t really know what I meant by “graphic” when I first thought about it in my head in defense of the movie. But really, what does it mean?
Cindy may not be aware but her innocent inquiry led me to assess how I view things, and in humility, accept that I have come to consider many things as “normal”, which are not if we go by the standards of God. We’re not supposed to view things the way the world views them. It is exactly where we should be different, or of a totally different standard: our regard for things such as purity (of language, thought, deed) –should be at par with what is said in Scriptures. So instead of talking about sex, let’s talk about standards. God’s standards. Who gets to define for us what is pure, beautiful, clean or wholesome? The answer is simple: Not the world, but God.
I hope I don’t deter anybody from watching this film. It also has some refreshing lessons on life, love for family, respect for the given time. It’s really very thought-provoking and makes you wonder if you would do anything differently in your life if you had the chance. In no way am I advising you against watching it, though I would advise, now that I am more aware, that you take in the good, and be even more cautious with those that appear “good” to our senses. In light of God’s Word, they may not be.
My take-away lesson: We are not called to be like everyone else. We are set apart, unusual, different. In these times, we should be all the more cautious, wise, ever scrutinizing and making sure we are not being pulled into the world’s standards.