Laura and I watched the movie Luther last night. I'd give it 2 stars out of 4.

The abuses of medieval catholicism (though the current catechism affirms the Treasury of Merit and indulgences) are quite graphic, and the film does a good job of showing the political ramifications of the Reformation in Germany. The scenery is fantastic, and generally the acting is quite good. Where the movie falls short is in its failure to clearly show Luther's own struggle. What we are shown is a man keenly aware of his own sinfulness, and his being pointed toward Christ. But the defining moment in Luther's life - and the theological substance behind the Reformation - namely, his understanding of justification by faith - is a no-show. We have a scene where Luther is preaching to his people, and he makes the point that it is Christ and not the abuses of the church that save. But his conversion is too basic to the plot of the Reformation to gloss over it the way the film did. I take away a whole star for that. (Hollywood quivers)

Nevertheless, I'd recommend it as helpful insight into the Reformation time period. I noticed that Christian Book Distributors had the older black & white DVD for $4 so I ordered that. I watched that over 20 years ago. CBD doesn't have the current one, but I have seen it in Best Buy for about $10, give or take. Two hours long.

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Interesting post on "Christian psychology" at Eternal Perspectives. Got Doctrine has a quote from Joseph Smith and a picture showing that the advent of the blow dryer helps a lot of us avoid this kind of bad hair day. Rebecca Writes has been sharing some material from different historic church documents. Rebecca lives and blogs from the Yukon!


Bumble said...

2 stars huh? you stingy you {grin}. I am too young to watch the B&W one, but this one moved me a great deal. The dialogs simply wonderful stuff! Do you think I would like the old one better?

Peter Bogert said...

You know Bumble, I don't remember the old film that well, but I believe that it focused more on Luther's struggle with salvation than this one did.

The dialogs in the new film were well-done. It was a decent film. For $4 from CBD plus shipping, I'd take a chance on the old one - my copy should be coming in the next week or so!

Shawn L said...

I'd disagree a bit. I personally thought it was 3.5 out of 4.

I agree the struggle learn justication and his conversion were missing, but you have to remember it's only 2 hours. I would like a longer 4 hour movie, but I also realize it's story telling. Many of the scenes with him preaching were awesome to me.

There was a bunch of stuff that wasn't part of Luther's life, but otherwise I would have given it a 4 out of 4.

I do think it was great in that I can introduce Christian friends to Christian history. I'm also giving the movie to unbelievers to watch as well. I personally learned alot from it.

I've been giving out my DVD so much it's been about a year and I haven't seen it and still want to see it bad.

Peter Bogert said...

I understand, Shawn. I agree with all that you say, but if we are going to understand what drove Luther, we need to see the justification issue more clearly. Ok. For you and Bumble I'll raise it half a star (grin).

Shawn L said...

Very Good point Peter.