Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fiddler On The Roof

Wow. Wow. Wow. One of the most dangerous and disturbing films I've seen in a long time. And I thought The Music Man was bad.

I need to review a film that I liked soon. :-D

This film objectifies women. It glorifies rebellion and impurity. It mocks God-given authority. It models men who are pious, kind, and wimpy (the tailor), old and stuck-up (the devout Jews), likable and underhanded (the father of the family that the film focuses on), or handsome, irresistible, and wicked (the husbands/boyfriends of the two younger girls). It models women who are unhappy and rebellious, who don't have enough character to see right through the hot guy who looks into their eyes and talks softly. And it makes a mockery of God's Law, and indeed of God Himself.

The film lays out the destruction of a family heritage- and portrays it as a good thing. The first daughter marries a good, devout Jew- she just doesn't do it the proper, traditional way. The next girl marries a radical Jew, and doesn't ask her father's permission- though they do want his blessing. ???

By daughter number three, she marries outside the faith. For a while, papa's strong on the issue, and won't give his blessing- he won't even speak to her. But of course, he bends there, too, by the end of the film.

How sad! How twisted! The modeling that a father can't say "no" to his daughter. "Look at her eyes... she loves him..."

If a father truly loves his daughter he will put weight to his words. Love doesn't mean giving someone what they want- but a person who acts in true love will give someone what they need.

Now, mind you, I'm not one who says that "tradition" is the standard. May it never be! Scripture is The Standard. God's Word trumps the word of any other- including my earthly father. BUT. My Heavenly Father has given me my earthly father and the traditions and heritages that I receive from him and others. Those traditions should be honored and respected, just as my father should be honored and respected by myself. If the traditions violate Scripture- may they be abolished! My father would say the same. May they never be placed on par with God's Word. But let us receive and honor those traditions which are rooted in Scripture with joy!

Yet, even if I am to abolish traditions, I must do it in an honoring way- not a brash, cocky, and irreverent one. In stead of confronting my father by tearing down his traditions in front of the whole town, it would be far better to speak to him in private! (Not only for Scriptural Principles' sake, but also so that if he ties me up in knots with the good reasons behind the tradition, I'm not so embarrassed. :-D)

Fiddler on the Roof basically lays precedent for rebellion, and for, really, the elevation of some sort of mushy, humanistic "love" over the love that God defines for us in His Law-Word.

Perhaps films like this are why we now think it's cruel for a father to refuse to attend the wedding of a Christian child to a pagan, or for a family to ostracize a homosexual child, or for a church to practice church discipline on an adulterous Sunday-school teacher. But where did Scripture give us a basis for this concept of love?

I said the film objectifies women. I want to elaborate. By abolishing patriarchy, by promoting a woman free to marry and "fall in love" and so on, by removing the God-given protections of a young woman's heart, the film, instead of freeing the woman, makes her a slave to the first dark-eyed and smooth-tongued teen-idol who comes her way. Is this freedom? Why can we not see that the young Russian who saves the young Jew from the men who were teasing her is far, far more dangerous to the girl than the men he saved her from ever were? They caused her discomfort for a moment- he destroyed her purity, her faith, her family, her future.

Interestingly enough, good ol' Hollywood always portrays the hot and radical young men who coo "I love you" as actually being faithful men of good character who would lay down their lives for their women. What a lie! The man who will steal a girl's heart most likely won't treasure it later. If he has no desire to protect your purity now, what makes you think that he will want to protect you when it really counts- when true love manifests itself? 20 years later, when you are not so pretty and have had a few children and a few years and a few pounds, do you think that he will treasure the heart that he stole on a whim?

Hollywood says yes. Methinks Hollywood be wrong.

Why do we see this as freedom for women?

(Sidenote- kinda like how the man who opens a door for a girl is upholding an oppressive patriarchy or an old-fashioned ignorance, but a guy who pins her in a wrestling match is promoting liberation for women... I applaud this young man)

The score was absolutely gorgeous. Break my heart, Isaac Stern.

It also had a very powerful ending and some very impressive filmmaking techniques- the silhouette dancing was fascinating and beautiful, some of the shots were great, and "Sunrise, Sunset" was like to make ya cry.

Also, one of the powerful lessons that we may take from this film is that we must not pass on tradition as such. We must pass on traditions along with the reasons behind them.

Nevertheless, because of the worldview... I'd have to give it 1 of 5, and I would only recommend it on the basis of it being a cultural classic, a great study in how not to live- worldview analysis-, and a very beautiful experience musically.

(Also, parental warning- there's a pretty scary scene for little kids where the father is recounting his dream of ghosts rising from their graves.)


Rebekah said...

Aye, the only thing that film is good for, is the music. I did a post about it on our blog about a year or two ago. The film is a perfect example of what happens when you remove the foundations! "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" The father in the film loved his traditions, but he could never back them up - he was always either mis-quoting "the good book" or downright admitting that he didn't know why they did what they did! No wonder his children went astray - there was no standard to base any of his convictions on!

(And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not acquitting the girls of blame... Hope I don't sound like I am.)

Two musicals playing in your house, in as many weeks?! How is your Dad surviving? He told me he doesn't like those. :p

To the KING be all the glory!

Christie Elkins said...

"20 years later, when you are not so pretty and have had a few children and a few years and a few pounds, do you think that he will treasure the heart that he stole on a whim?"

Haha! I loved this. I am really enjoying your movie reviews, Gabe. Very well worded and full of insight. Brandon and I are impressed ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Praise God, Mrs. Elkins- I'm glad you are enjoying them.

Rebekah- Dad watched all of "Fiddler" with us. Not so with "TMM". :-D

Jocelyn K. said...

GREAT review, Gabe! Loved it. And I totally agree with you. Yes, a lot of the music and cinematography were well done, but those elements are just the surface level elements. The message behind it is the most dangerous and crucial parts of film because it embeds into its audience a worldview that promotes either a Biblical standard or worldly/fleshly one. There is NO neutral area in life, especially with entertainment. (Matt 12:30, 6:24 and Luke 16:13) Unfortunately, I used to think otherwise. Praise the LORD He opened my eyes! ~ Mrs. K

David R. said...

Hey Gabe, you want an interesting movie to comment on? Go watch "Secretariat" I just saw it recently, and I'm putting a post about it and another movie i saw up on my blog. Check it out.

Jennifer said...

"Why do we see this as freedom for women?"

Because it's not up to men to protect our hearts or decide how we feel. If a father loves his daughter, he should put weight to her words.