It’s officially summertime, and you know what that means? Blockbuster movies! The ones with explosions, aliens, fast cars, romance, perfect one-liners (“Never tell me the odds!”), and most likely Will Smith. It’s a great time of year! But what if these movies have more to say?
At my church, we fully embrace the energy of summer movie season through a message series called At the Movies. Our senior pastor crafts his sermons around popular movies, pulling rich spiritual truth out of them. We’re always surprised that movies can be so much more than just entertainment if we’ll take a closer look. As with any movie, before you jump in and watch one of these, look it up on a review site like common sense media and make sure you’re comfortable with the content.
Here are 7 movies with deeper meaning!
1. Arrival. This incredibly well-made sci-fi film touches on many deep topics: the life-and-death power of our words, the importance of community, and the cost of love. It’s a powerful example of what God did for us through Jesus so that we might know His grace and peace, even though He knew it would cost Jesus His life. (1 John 4:9-10)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Your favorite crew of space misfits (including an adorable, tiny, living tree named Groot) square off against a character aptly named Ego, who offers powers beyond their wildest imaginations if they leave their mission to join him. The film is a great reminder to stay true to God’s calling and purpose for your life, because “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)
3. La La Land. A musical!? They still make those? Yep, and if this one doesn’t make you want to dream big and pursue that dream with all you’ve got, nothing will. The writer of Ecclesiastes said there’s a time for everything, and this film is a fine illustration of what it looks like to move through life, letting go of seasons past while embracing the season that you’re in.
4. Sully. You remember the real-life story of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger making an emergency landing on the Hudson River, but do you know the rest of the story? This Clint Eastwood directed movie fills us in on the details, while also serving as a great example of what it looks like to stand your ground for what you know is right, even in the face of adversity.
5. Zootopia. This hilarious, animated tale about a crime-fighting bunny speaks volumes about the importance of embracing and celebrating our differences. It shows us what the Church should look like, too. It shouldn’t be uniform—that’s not how we were made to work together. After all, if the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?
6. Captain America: Civil War. Clarity can be elusive. Sometimes our decisions can bring about more questions than answers. How do you know what’s right? Captain America and Iron Man struggle with these issues in this installation of the Marvel Universe, and we learn that while the answers may not come, we can always choose how we carry ourselves, a sentiment once shared with the Philippians.
7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This action-packed space adventure bridges the gap between Episode III and Episode IV, paints a heart-wrenching picture of sacrificing for something bigger than yourself, and ultimately, as Jesus saw it, of love. As if you needed an excuse to watch a Star Wars movie.
Movies are made to be enjoyed, but they can also help us better understand truths, help us grow, and help us connect with each other. Movies are so much better together, so watch some movies with deeper meaning with your friends and family this summer. When you do, start a conversation about what the movies mean to you. Who knows what you’ll figure out together.