Movie Review: The Lovely Bones
At first, I wasn’t going to see it. Then, Roger Ebert had an apoplectic fit over the movie,
“The Lovely Bones” is a deplorable film with this message: If you’re a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to..
and I just had to see what would induce well, anyone to have a fit over a Peter Jackson adaptation of a best-selling novel.
Let’s see .. A young girl dies a horrible death, and she looks down from “Heaven” on how her family is coping with the loss. That’s the gist of the movie.
And my gut feeling about the movie was right – The movie’s theology of Heaven and the Intermediate State are way off. At best, it conflates the two. Heaven is the place where Believers will go, in their resurrected bodies, to be with the Triune God, for all eternity. In ‘Bones,’ the girl is sometimes sad, and God is nowhere to be found. Not even providentially.
What’s hilarious is that towards the end, the girl temporarily reliquishes “heaven” so that she might enjoy a first-kiss with a young man who was almost her beau while she was alive (Er.. don’t ask).
Now, think about that for a minute … Is the Heaven preached about in the Bible, such that it pales in comparison with even a first-kiss? Or even the first time husband and wife have intercourse?
Not surprisingly, C.S. Lewis wrote about this very issue. The first couple of times I read this excerpt, it embarrassed me. Now, my bachelor days long gone, I find it amusing, and so true:
The letter and spirit of Scripture, and of all Christianity forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternative either of bodies which are hardly recognizable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No’, he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fulness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now understand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendour. Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away weapons they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them. ‘Trans-sexual’** would be a better word than ‘sexless’ for the heavenly life.
Love it ! Hollywood misses again.
But you know what? I think The Lovely Bones worth seeing anyway. At least it’s a great way for Christians to talk to Unbelievers about Heaven.
On a more positive note, I will say that it nails the grief thing.
** Note: By ‘Trans-sexual,’ Lewis is talking about beyond human sexuality altogether, not a pretend reversal of gender ala thousands of dollars and many major surguries.