I had planned to theme my Cinematical Seven around a DVD that was cute and cuddly, like The Tale of Despereaux, but a list of movie mice isn't much fun to write, let alone read. So when in doubt ... go with Doubt. It is Lent, after all, a time that was always a bit fraught with religious drama even in my Lutheran upbringing. My church didn't require us to give up anything -- but I have guilty memories of being asked who I loved more, Jesus or my parents. Heavy stuff for a seven-year-old.

So I thought I might provoke a little conversation by listing seven films that are centered around theological distress. Some of the picks are a bit light-hearted, others a little more controversial, but all are worth talking about. Spoilers abound, so if you really don't know how Dogma or The Last Temptation of Christ ends, skip this post for something safer.

1. The Last Temptation of Christ

Both Nikos Kazantzakis' novel and Martin Scorsese's film continue to attract controversy for daring to portay a Jesus who was uncertain, troubled, and struggling with his destiny. I can't really say it any better than Roger Ebert did, so let's just quote him: "Here he is flesh and blood, struggling, questioning, asking himself and his father which is the right way, and finally, after great suffering, earning the right to say, on the cross, 'It is accomplished.'"

2. Agnes of God

Immaculate conception or someone taking advantage of a troubled young nun? Are her actions tinged with madness or inspired by a higher power? Neither the movie nor the play its based on ever really answers the question, and neither explanation offers much comfort.

categories Cinematical