While looking for a source today, I came across chapter 3 of a book by John Frame where he offers 12 ways to judge films. Left unstirred by his list, I compiled a few questions myself to ask about movies.
- What does this film encourage you to love?
- Does this film desensitize you to the horror of sin?
- Does the writing and plot encourage classic and enduring values? Does it–even as entertainment–make you grow to see beauty, complexity, or truth in a previously overlooked area or perspective?
- Will this movie enable me to think and meditate more clearly, or does it have the life-sapping, mind-numbing quality of much modern fare?
- Is it written for a youth culture that demands constant action, trivial plots, bathroom humor, animal stimuli, and foolish authorities corrected by heroic kids?
- Does it glorify unscriptural, unrealistic gender roles?
- Is sin consistently punished, or is it sometimes “the only way” to solve the problem?
- Does it degrade the sacred? Do the setting, characters, lines, and story massage the viewer’s feelings into enjoying the profane or even the banal?
Yes, I recognize that there is a lot of overlap within the questions, and ultimately they all may be branches projecting off the trunk of the first question. If so, then maybe we’ll get the point: We cannot rightly judge art without examining the effects on our feelings.