Movies that make you believe in God

My people like our Christmases dark, especially when it comes to the movie portion of our celebration.

An all-time favorite Christmas Day screening was Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade. Two years ago, Black Swan was my favorite Christmas movie.

During the past week at my mom’s, I read Gone Girl (Marriage can be a real killer) and watched the entire last season of Dexter (America’s Favorite Serial Killer).

So I consider The Life of Pi to have been a rather mainstream choice of Christmas movie. After all, its premise is that Pi’s life story “will make you believe in God.”


Warning: I am not about to spoil the ending of the movie as much as this interesting post, but if you haven’t read the book and want to remain spoiler-free, skip the next couple of grafs. I don’t think what I’m about to write will actually ruin the MOVIE for anyone, but I’m more sensitive to spoilers in books, it seems.

I didn’t like the ending of The Life of Pi when I read it. It felt like an “it was all a dream” cop out. Armed with this information when I saw the movie, I saw an early clue that Pi might not be a completely reliable narrator.

Our hero describes the day he got his classmates to start calling him by the nickname Pi. We see him writing the decimal out to a bazillion places on a chalkboard. I thought to myself, “No way he memorized ALL those places. He’s exaggerating.”

Which might lead one to believe that he exaggerated other parts of his tale.

Cut to the ending, when Pi asks his listener which version of a story he prefers: the whimsical and improbable one, or the more likely, sadder one.

Everyone likes the improbable one better, right?

Pi says, “And so it goes with God.”

Interesting. Both stories tell of overcoming incredible adversity, but the improbable one goes down better. Like all those stories in the Bible? Like, probably Noah didn’t really have an ark with two of every animal on it? Is that what Pi is saying?

In any case, Pi’s story didn’t make me believe in God. (It’s a really good movie though. Friends of mine worked on it. You should see it.) I said to my mother, “I don’t think there’s any story that can make a person believe in God. People who already believe in God already believe in him.”

The next day, we saw Les Miserables and as the credits rolled, I whispered, “That story kind of makes me believe in God.”


Warning: For some reason, I assume that anyone who wants to see Les Miserables already knows who lives and dies, so there be spoilers ahead. 

Consider the following lyrics:

“My soul belongs to God I know, I made that bargain long ago. He gave me hope when hope was gone. He gave me strength to journey on.”

I mean, wow. That’s powerful. So we know that Valjean believes in God, and without that belief, he never would have overcome his horrible adversity. For sure I believe in Valjean’s belief… but does that make me believe in God?

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Again. Wow. GoodReads tells me that’s straight from the source material.

But really, here’s what does it. As miserables as their lives are, people’s prayers come true!

Fantine tells Valjean, “My daughter’s close to dying. If there’s a god above, he’d let me die instead.”

Guess what happens?

Then, Valjean sings of Marius, “If I die, let me die. Let him live. Bring him home.”

Guess what happens?

(It’s a really good movie. You should see it. I like Hugh Jackman as Valjean as much as I like him as Wolverine. Anne Hathaway is breathtaking in closeup singing I Dreamed a Dream in one take. Amanda Seyfried sings like a Disney princess.)

You know what else these movies have in common, besides God? Yep. Tigers.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

17 thoughts on “Movies that make you believe in God

  1. Not sure I’ll get to Les Mis…but did enjoy PI…have skipped over reading the book to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore which I am thoroughly enjoying. Perfectly pitched every-dude voice. Nice piece….wish I had it for

  2. Wow! I wanted to see both movies on the big screen. I saw Le Miserable on stage as a teenager. I saw the movie of it too that had no singing in it. I think this one will take my breath away. Visiting from SITS!

    Tina – American mom raising 4 kids in South Africa

  3. loved both of these movies and yeah they kind of do make you believe in God. Les Mis was pretty good and it does put some things into perspective so I am glad it made it to the big screen.

  4. Well now I need to see both of these movies. I am not a big movie goer- but I love how you dive into each of these with your own perspective. Very cool. Happy SITS day!!

  5. Thanks. I like your take on things. We can still think even if we have different beliefs. Have you ever seen the film The Fall? You might find it worth the time. It’s definitely not a movie, but it’s a great film and I don’t say that often. Enjoy your SITS Day. We will be seeing Pi and Les Miserables but I’m not sure when. Life happens.

  6. This is fantastic, I haven’t seen the Life of Pi yet, so I totally skipped those paragraphs. Wasn’t gone girl amazing? Easily the best book I read in 2012. Hands down. Enjoy your SITS day, you have an awesome blog here!

  7. I too hated the ending of the book Life of Pi. So much so, I never went to see the movie.

  8. I like that the Life of Pi lets you choose the ending. At first I was angry but then I thought about it, and it fits the book well. I didn’t see the movie but I really liked the book. Happy SITS Day!

  9. I can’t wait to see both of these movies. With a teen, twins and a toddler at home, I don’t get to the movies as often as I’d like. Visiting from SITS.

  10. Loved Pi and did feel connected to God as I watched it. I had the same questions about the ending comments by the main character – is he referrring to the Bible? Will check out Les Mis soon. Great post! happy SITS Day!

  11. Really enjoyed your take on Les Mis the movie. I love the play, and have seen it numerous times. I wasn’t sure about how well they could make the movie. You have inspired me to watch it. Thanks for your take on it. Happy SITS day!!

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