Ever since the kids came along, a trip to the movie theater is almost non-existent. I can count on one hand how many movies I have seen in an actual theater in the past five years. One particular movie that has piqued my curiosity of late, is the movie Get Low. Let’s face it, it has Bil Murray and Robert Duvall. The only way it could get any better was if John Wayne was to make a special appearance and it was directed by Clint Eastwood. (or second thought maybe not).
Russell Moore gives a review of this movie, and it’s not your typical movie review, which is a good thing because he’s the dean of Southern Seminary and not a movie critic.
…Get Low is the story of a mysterious hermit (played with brilliance by Robert Duvall) who hires a funeral director (Bill Murray) and his associate to carry out a “funeral party” for him. The catch is that this memorial service is to be held before the hermit is actually dead, in order that he would be there to hear all the stories folks would tell about him.
Get Low is not a “Christian movie.” The point of view is decidedly non-Christian, as is most of the mode of discourse. And that’s just the point. The film portrays something the Christian Scriptures insist to be true. Guilt isn’t something society foists upon us. There’s something primal, something real, in the guilty conscience.
I was first struck by the fact that this was one of the very few contemporary films I’ve seen that portrays positively either the clergy (two of them, in this movie) or funeral directors (well, at least one of the two). But that was not the most impressive part of the movie. I was jarred by the guilt that throbbed through the whole of it.
I’ll try not to spoil the plot for you, except to say that the hermit turns out to be a hermit for a reason. There is something wicked back there in his past. And that’s what the funeral party is about. He wants to hear the stories others have of him (knowing they’ll be awful) because he is fearful of telling the story that only he knows about himself.