There’s a delusional Christian film opening next week called Miracles From Heaven (Screen Gems, 3.16). Yes, I know — using the above adjective implies there are Christian films that aren’t delusional. Jennifer Garner plays the lead role (i.e., a mom whose faith in God is invigorated when her sick daughter is cured after falling from a tree), and is now giving the film nationwide attention with a Vanity Fair cover story by Krista Smith. The question is “why?…why would a more-or-less liberal Hollywood mom and an estranged wife of Ben Affleck in good standing…why would she star in a film aimed at Orange County and Bible-belt yokels?”
Garner was raised in rural West Virginia, check. She’s a devout Methodist, check. But starring in a Christian flick feels to me like a kind of cultural betrayal. Is she a Los Angeles girl or isn’t she? Was making this film a result of some kind of ideological, faith-driven decision on Garner’s part? Or was she off-balance because of her marital troubles with Affleck and lunged toward a Christian film as a kind of therapy? Did she need the money or something?
No matter how you slice it, it’s just not cool to make a Christian film. Not my my standards, it isn’t. Either you get it or you don’t — Christians live on the Planet Betelgeuse. God is not an active participant in the ongoing human tragedy. He doesn’t step into things every so often as a way of telling people that He exists. He’s allowed hundreds if not thousands of children to be slaughtered in Syria but he steps in to help a single blonde Christian girl who’s suffering from an incurable disease? The arrogance! But that’s the Christian community for you. It’s all about them and their kids.