Idol Chatter, and its founders Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, has announced its nominees for the Most Spiritually Literate films of 2009. I think it’s a great site and a great category, reminding people of faith to consider not only which films will win Oscar or Gold, but also which ones really stimulated and provoked us to move ahead in our faith.
“Avatar” is their winner for 2009, not a choice that I’d agree with but that’s not really the point, as I just love the dialogue that the category creates.
The Brussats also liked “The Messenger” for how it illustrated compassion, “Up in the Air” in terms of connections, “Julia and Julia” for its enthusiasm and lifting up the role of creative women, “Invictus” and its forgiveness theme, “Amreka” which brought hope and the transformation of”Precious.”
In general, these are all a bit more esoteric in their approach to spirituality than I’d prefer, but I sure like the themes. I like more straightforward illustrations of the Christ-centered message of the Bible, going back as far as “Face-Off” about the Incarnation, “Gladiator’s” illumination of how what we do in this life effects us in the next, “John Q’s” depiction of a savior willing to go to the cross for his son and “Signs,” complete with Mel Gibson’s honest and hard questions of God.
Getting back to 2009, I wished the compassion and Good Samaritan-ness of “The Solist” (with Robert Downey, Jr.) would have made the list, as well as the discussion of little fibs and half-truths in “The Invention of Lying.” I also liked “In the Logo,” a less-seen but wonderful “Wag The Dog”-esque satire on the slightly shadier side of the difference between leaders and politicians.
All in all, movies can be great for just an escape, but I always love coming away with more text and context in my spiritual journey, and a language and experience through which I can share it with others. I hope the Brussat’s list helps more people think more that way more often!

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