Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ides Of March and the Alamo Drafthouse

Last Sunday my husband and I went to see The Ides Of March at the Lake Creek Alamo Drafthouse.

This was my first time ever to go to an Alamo Drafthouse, and it was a lot of fun!  We each had a pint of ale while we stood in line to be taken to our theater.  The servers were friendly, and the food was yummy!  I had a grilled chicken Asian wrap and a crème brûlée with berries.  The servers ran along the tables and served while ducking, and believe it or not, they didn't interrupt the ambiance of the film.

The Ides of March was directed by George Clooney.  He was also one of four contributors to the screenplay, one of the producers (Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the executive producers), and had a starring role!  We aren't fans of Clooney's politics, but given that he gives a great performance, we decided to go ahead and see it.

(This is a rated R film with lots of swearing and two bedroom scenes, and I completely respect that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have convictions against seeing movies, especially films rated R.  Before seeing the film, you might want to look it up on one of the Christian review sites that will give you blow by blow cussing, etc.)

What I have to say is full of spoilers!

We found this movie to be a wonderful exposé of what happens when people make anything but worshiping God their religion.  The film revolves around the Democratic primary for President. It starts off with a proclamation that Stephen, a kind of "hero" in the film (played by Ryan Gosling), and the candidate (George Clooney) for whom Stephen campaigns, don't have any religion but the Constitution of the United States of America.  What ensues is one unethical choice after another.  Loyalty is supposed to be the one virtue that people can depend on, but even loyalty is upended in favor of survival of the fittest.

This film is amazingly pro-life.  Although the intern (Evan Rachel Wood) wanted money for an abortion, as soon as Stephen found out she was pregnant with the candidate's child, it was clear she no longer had a choice.  He never asked how she felt or if she had any misgivings.  He took charge of the situation and left her alone at the sterile abortion clinic to get it done.  The candidate's words in an earlier interview about his opposition to the death penalty because of the value of human life yet wanting abortion to be a choice echoed in my mind--nobody bothered to give her a choice to keep the baby.  It was all about convenience. 

The abortion is in juxtaposition to Stephen then being told in the next scene that there are no mistakes, only choices, and the campaign throws him away for his choices.  The look on Stephen's face as he realizes that he is worthless is reminiscent of the intern's face as he left her at the abortion clinic.

Stephen is so wrapped up in being fired that he forgets to pick the intern up from the abortion clinic.  Scenes of her sitting by herself, getting the post-op meds from the nurse, and sitting alone in a cafe are interspersed with scenes of Stephen driving around in a funk.  Then he finally remembers.

When he goes to her hotel room, she is dead on the floor due to an overdose.  Later at her funeral, her father laments that a parent should never have to bury their child, and yet that is exactly what had happened to her.

Too many people don't realize that suicidal thoughts often happen to women who have had abortions.  It also isn't broadly reported that most women who have abortions feel they have no other choice, not only for financial reasons but also that no one would support them emotionally if they chose to keep the baby.  For a procedure that is supposed to be ethical, it causes great depression and grieving.  I applaud this film for daring to show how abortion rips a woman's soul.  If it is ethical to make human life worthless, how can we have any virtues?

Stephen, however, continues to serve himself.  The film rolls on as Stephen uses blackmail to regain his position in the campaign and to have his former mentor fired.

Some could look at this film as merely a dark portrayal at the hollowness of politics.  However, seen through a Christian lens, one can see a cry for a return to Judeo-Christian ethics and a religion that is not based on man made documents and power.  I wonder if Clooney is aware of the message of this film, or if his Catholic roots are beginning to have a comeback.


  1. Believers see and understand things differently because they have a different world view by design. I think that's a good thing. I'm pretty over-protective when it comes to my kids (and they're grown) and even my husband, but if we're supposed to be shielded from all sinful things then we need to be beamed up. But you're right, to watch or not to watch R-rated probably falls somewhere along a believer's conscience (spiritual maturity) and/or the strength of his/her faith (1 Cor. 8). Of course, I've been known to be wrong. All that aside, it sounds like a pretty good movie, except, I like happy endings better. :-)

  2. Thank you, Petra, for all your thoughtfulness and kindness! :) We have our limits about what we're comfortable with, while other Christians find those genres perfectly fine. I don't blame you if you'd rather not see it! :)