The Shack: Movie Review

By | March 12, 2017

The Shack is a movie based on the book of the same name. I have yet to read the book so I am unable to say how closely the movie captures it.

That said, I was disappointed in the movie—though it wasn’t all bad. It was too cheesy and predictable in many places. The extraordinary nature of the premise was over emphasized to the point where I considered categorizing the film as fantasy. In reality, it’s an “inspirational” film. This genre is about emotion with a positive ending, tends to use cliche, and often requires some suspension of disbelief as the endings are wrapped up more neatly than is usually the case in real life. For these reasons, I generally have a strong distaste for the “inspirational” genre.

The movie is certainly emotional—I wanted to cry through half of it—which is certainly understandable considered the story revolves around a man dealing with his daughter’s abduction and murder. As such, the movie wades into the theological question regarding the existence of evil and suffering. This is a brave move because it’s a question to which there is no emotionally satisfactory answer. Intellectual answers are available, however it’s as much of an emotional question as anything, and none of the intellectual answers make us feel any better about suffering. Nevertheless, I appreciate the film asking the right questions. These are very real and honest questions which people have. I appreciated how it went as far as having the main character hold God responsible for all of the evil and suffering in the world. And I didn’t feel that the movie fumbled in how it responded to these questions. I thought the scene with personified wisdom did actually contain such. Though a heavy topic, the film didn’t (and couldn’t) go too deep into this subject.

Probably the best part of the film is simply the premise of being able to spend a weekend with God incarnated right in front of you. Imagine this! What do you imagine God being like? In what setting do you imagine God choosing to meet you? What do you imagine God saying to you? What do you imagine saying to God? I think this could be a useful and insightful exercise.

Overall, I won’t specifically recommend The Shack though I won’t discourage it either. I’ve heard that there has been some controversy regarding the theology of the Shack. Ironically perhaps, I didn’t see anything which really bothered me nor which I recognized as particularly controversial. I simply didn’t like how the film was written as previously described. Unfortunately, I’m sure there are some who will have an issue with how the film personifies God as a middle-eastern man, black woman, Asian woman, and native American man. This bothered me absolutely zero-percent—I see no reason for it to be an issue.

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