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2009 movies that will preach

By Darby Jones

SUMMARY: Jesus was a master of metaphor, telling parables that could visually represent complex truths about God and humanity. Some movies today incorporate those elements. 

These films from 2009 have characters who are redeemers or who experience redemption to some degree. Consider showing a clip from one these films to drive your message home in a culturally meaningful and relevant way.

1. "Up," directed by Pete Docter
"It's got talking dogs piloting fighter planes and a house that floats to South America on the strength of a thousand balloons, but the most outrageous thing about 'Up'? It's a summer blockbuster that's head-over-heels for the joys of marriage. Here lifelong commitment isn't a burden; it's an adventure."-Josh Hurst

2. "The Blind Side," directed by John Lee Hancock
"The Touhys, a well-to-do white family, can't ignore the needs of a homeless African-American boy. Instead of just lending a hand, they make him family. This real-life story of NFL player Michael Oher shows a great example of Christian compassion. We can't save the world, but we can love the ones God puts in our path."-Camerin Courtney

3. "Invictus," directed by Clint Eastwood
"This is much more than just another sports movie or 'another Clint Eastwood awards season movie.' It's a beautiful portrait of forgiveness and a model for how reconciliation can happen in reality, and how politics can employ things like sports and poetry in the service of national renewal."-Brett McCracken

4. "The Road," directed by John Hillcoat
"Despite the bleak and sometimes terrifying post-apocalyptic milieu, this film-based on the book by Cormac McCarthy-stands out from other recent end-times flicks in its tenacious, audacious insistence on hope in the midst of darkness. Plus it's one of the most loving father-son relationships ever depicted on the big screen."-Mark Moring

5. "The Soloist," directed by Joe Wright
"This true tale of the unlikely relationship between a newspaper columnist and a musically gifted, mentally ill homeless man is a testament to the power of friendship. There are no easy answers here, and the homeless problem among the mentally ill is clearly epidemic, but for both of these men, care and companionship are transformative."-Lisa Cockrel

6. "Where the Wild Things Are," directed by Spike Jonze
"Jonze re-imagines Maurice Sendak's tale of high-spirited rebellion as a meditation on childhood insecurity in a messy world in which nothing-families, forests, even the sun-lasts forever. 'Wild Things' knows both a child's drowning sense of trying to hold together a broken family and the comfort of a mother's embrace, a calm center in a storm of uncertainty."-Steven D. Greydanus

7. "District 9," directed by Neil Blomkamp
"Using aliens and spaceships, 'District 9' actually gives new perspective on humans-their ugliness, racism and greedy self-preservation. Perhaps because it shows a realistically dark world, we can see what shines. And because the main character is a complex mash-up of good and evil, his ultimate redemptive choice is powerful."-Todd Hertz

8. "The Hurt Locker," directed by Kathryn Bigelow
"A group of soldiers spend their days in combat and their nights shooting it out in video games; they see violence as macho and cool, but we see it as a deadly addiction. A lot of war movies turn our hearts to anger, but this one fills us with compassion for the people whose lives are caught in the crossfire."-Josh Hurst

9. "Julie & Julia," directed by Nora Ephron
"It's rare to see happy marriages portrayed in Hollywood-after all, no tension is boring. In contrast, 'Julie & Julia' presents us with not one, but two, marriages in which the husbands and wives genuinely love one another and stand ready to support, encourage and laugh together. A feast, indeed."-Alissa Wilkinson

10. "Up in the Air," directed by Jason Reitman
"The core characters may not always behave honorably, but that's the point of this cautionary parable about investing more in selfish pursuits than in relationships. How sadly ironic that Ryan Bingham so skillfully helps others find hope and meaning in unemployment, yet can't find any in his own cocoon-though there's hope even for him."-Russ Breimeier

Resources, an online resource of movie clips for churches and ministries, categorizes hundreds of clips by theme (i.e. love, trust, sin, etc). To include movies in your worship service, please purchase the proper church video license through TechShop here.