Movies for Lent: Calvary


I’ve written several times on this blog about how great I think Calvary is. It can not be over stated how much of an impact the film has had me on me. It has been roughly a year since I first watched it, to date I have not re-watched it and yet I am still in awe of it.

Calvary is not simply another darkly comedic, McDonagh directed, Irish film. It is not simply a satirical look at the cause and effect of the numerous abuse cases still being uncovered and dealt with in Ireland. It is not just a swipe at the bankers who have crippled Ireland and brought austerity through their negligence. It is not just about the changing relationship between the man/woman in the street and their dwindling relationship with the church. It is about all these things and more.

It is all these things and it is also Easter.

The man accused when he has committed no crime.

The man who encounters and has embraced those that society rejects. The prostitute, the rich young rule (banker) to name just a couple.

The man who receives no help from religious rulers the very people who SHOULD be on his side.

The man who witnesses the community around him change from welcoming him to turn on him within a week

The man who faces his accuser, listens to their lies and takes the blame.

Calvary is Easter and Easter is Calvary.

*Calvary is now streaming on Netflix in the UK


Movies for Lent: Her


For those of you who can see this welcome to the first post in a new short series on Films and Faith I’m calling –  Movies for Lent (see what I did there). The intention of these posts is to highlight a small selection of films that I feel have some relevance to the season of Lent.

I am however aware that there may be a percentage of people who don’t see this.  You are the strong-willed folk who, for Lent, have walked away from social media. In a strange way though it’s you that I really want to address.

Her tells the story of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer, who after a break up falls in love with his computer’s new operating system, seductively voiced by Scarlett Johansson. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt.

Spike Jonze’s great film asks us a lot of questions very relevant to today. How do we interact with technology and how deep does the rabbit hole of that relationship go?

Think about it we all do it numerous times a day. Looking down checking for Facebook likes, tweets ,emails and all other manner of communication. We ask Siri rather than stop and ask a person for directions. Traffic lights become a quick break from looking up to return to looking down to text or tweet again. Google has the answers for all of our studying needs. Our books can be downloaded rather than picked up and felt. Missed that TV programme last night that everyone will be talking about today in the office? It’s ok you can catch on your commute to work via several handy apps.

Technology is everywhere and is largely unavoidable. We all buy in to some degree.

The problem comes when we are distracted by it and obsessed with it. When the constant looking down stops us from seeing what is up ahead. When we don’t even watch a film anymore without a laptop open to see what else is going on.

However I am full aware that there is another very valid side of the coin. The connectivity of technology is helpful too.

The friends thousand of miles away feel that little closer. Even though we don’t speak as much as we would like social media and technology make it easier to know what is going on in their lives and it feels good to still be connected.

The key is balance. When the technology takes us out of conversations around tables and makes us live in an insular world where the appearance of sociability is shown by liking things on Facebook. When our faces are more regularly illuminated by pixels rather than conversation we need to reassess.

To those who have given social media up for Lent you have my great respect in some ways. I know I couldn’t do it.

Recently though I did attempt a digital sabbath as recommended by The School of Life. 48 hours away from social media as an encouragement to reconnect with reality which, for me, was much harder than I had anticipated. I would encourage you to give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Also watch Her. watch without your laptop, tablet or phone open.

Watch the relationship between Theodore and his operating system deepen and ask yourself is that me?

Am I too in love with my tech?.