Moral Movie Reviews Moral Movie Reviews

Moral Movie Reviews

The Moral Vacuum of Unfriended

Unfriended (2014) is a gimmick movie—one of scores of horror films released in 2015 that is aimed at teenage and young twenties audiences.  The entire film consists of computer screen images, largely of Facebook, Skype, and Instant Messaging on Mac.   Now that this has been done, we need to pray that no other producers decide to replicate it.  While I thought the gimmick was interesting during the first ten minutes of the film, it grew increasingly tiresome as the revenge plot played itself out, and I re-discovered what I don’t like about social media sites—they are numbingly banal after the first few minutes.  I don’t know how people can spend hours on them (or spend 83 minutes watching Unfriended—in my theatre everyone but me left before the film ended—I hung around until the predictable ending so I could write this review).

By Terry R. Bacon
Moral Simplicity and Complexity in Unstoppable and The Next Three Days

Unstoppable and The Next Three Days, which were both released in 2010, illustrate the difference between moral simplicity and complexity in the art of cinematic storytelling.  I have argued in other essays that most films feature one or more characters who are the moral center of the stories being told on screen, but this is also true of novels, short stories, plays, and oral narratives.  The purpose of a well-constructed story –whether it is War and Peace or a story being told by a barber as he cuts someone’s hair—is to instruct, educate, and delight readers or listeners in some way, and one or more of the characters in the story convey or reflect the author’s message through their words and actions.

By Terry R. Bacon
Anna Scott's Moral Journey in Notting Hill

She is an American movie star, glamorous and famous.  He is the proprietor of a hobbling travel book shop in a suburb of London.  In 1999’s Notting Hill they have an improbable on-again, off-again romance which ends, predictably, with the boy getting the girl, although not without the requisite complications along the way.  It’s the classic story of the commoner and the princess, although underlying this romantic fairy tale is a character’s moral journey that makes Notting Hill more interesting than the standard, formulaic romantic comedy.

By Terry R. Bacon
The Moral Center in Films

High Noon (1952) is a classic tale of a hero who must face mortal danger alone. The other “good” men in the town are either unable or unwilling to stand by his side, despite the fact that he cleaned up Hadleyville and made it a decent place to live. With his sense of responsibility, determination, and courage, Will Kane represents the moral center of the story—the character who exemplifies the right values and moral attributes. Miller’s gang is the threat to the hero, the direct cause of the dramatic tension in the story, but the true moral antitheses to Kane’s noble behavior are the townspeople, who are hypocrites and cowards. Amy is a character on a moral journey, and Helen Ramirez acts as her guide. Initially unwilling to support her husband and embrace the virtues he represents, she gets a lesson in loyalty when Ramirez advises her to stand by her man, which Amy ultimately does. 

By Terry R. Bacon
Tags: film, movies, moral, morality, High Noon, Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, western, stories

 

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