My first degree was in radio, tv, and film production, and I’ve remained fascinated with these forms of communication even as I’ve moved on to the field of history. Historical settings within movies are of particular interest to me; period pieces are a natural draw. I’ve seen two exceptional movies recently that effectively recreate historical periods while simultaneously communicating a worthwhile message.
The Christmas Candle is one of the new genre of Christian-based films that has superior production values along with fine acting. Combine a turn-of-the-century English village with a frank discussion of faith in the midst of personal trial, then mix in a touch of the supernatural to show God’s love, and you have a thoughtful presentation of the love of God in any circumstance.
Echolight Studios, which produced the film, is a fairly new endeavor, and if it continues to put out a quality product like this one, it can be a model for others wanting to infuse the market with Christian truth in a form that will speak to any audience.
The second movie, The Book Thief, is a hauntingly beautiful tale centered on a young German girl during Hitler’s tyranny. Taken in by a foster family, schooled as a Hitler youth, she nevertheless gradually comes to realize the evil inherent within the system. While the film is not explicitly Christian, the fundamental Biblical messages of personal sacrifice, love of family, and compassion for those suffering persecution are weaved throughout.
The acting is about as sublime as I’ve seen in any movie. Frankly, I was practically blown away by the emotional impact conveyed through this story. The actress in the lead role is truly remarkable, as are all the supporting cast.
So if you are looking for more than mere entertainment during this season, I urge you to check out The Christmas Candle and The Book Thief. You should come away from both deeply impressed and more thoughtful. In my opinion, these two films are models of what movies ought to be.