I’m not a big movie guy. One, I don’t like spending a lot of money to watch something for 2 hours. Two, I don’t like spending 2 hours watching something. And three, I don’t like spending 2 hours watching something that, often, wasn’t worth the 2 hours.
But I recently saw a movie that cost a whopping $3. And that was for two tickets. So, the price was right. And it was a movie I knew I wanted to see, for it was based on a book I had just read. A book that gets in your head and makes you wrestle with what you think you know. So, even though I went into the theater knowing the movie was 161 minutes long (do the math; that’s way beyond my two-hour limit), I was ready.
The movie? It’s simply called Silence. Based on a 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo, it focuses on three priests who go to Japan in the 17th century as missionaries. At the time, Japan is a brutal place for any who claim the name of Jesus, and the story highlights the way these 3 missionaries deal with the challenges of leading others to, and living for Jesus, in such a harsh environment.
I won’t give away the ending, but in short, these 3 have to make excruciating decisions based on their faith. And while I would love a clean and simple ending, the movie, and especially the book, simply don’t give one. Because life, and faith, and the human condition can be so messy and unpredictable. And sometimes, even though we long for words, a clear message, a sign from God, or just something – we often don’t get it. And we have to choose, anyway.
If you’re a reader, let me encourage you to read Silence. If you’re a movie person, and even if you’re not, let me encourage you to see Silence – in the theater (though hurry, it’s only showing in one cinema near my house), or, when it becomes available, at home.
And don’t watch it alone. Watch it with someone – believer or not– for you will want to process the movie with someone. Because, frankly, you can’t watch Silence and not come away with words – as you grapple with faith, God, and the human condition.
Way too much of Hollywood’s money is spent on pointless and vacuous blockbusters. Silence is definitely NOT one of those. So, go. It’s worth the time. And the 3 bucks.