I have not seen Noah.
But watching the reactions to it from the outside are fascinating.
The film has served as a touchstone that has revealed an interesting split in the Church at large. Maybe the deluge of criticism even reveals certain foundational differences (Mat. 7:25).
- There seems to be a flood of biblical illiteracy out there, even among fundamentalists. As a friend of mine remarked, "I honestly don't know what these Christian audiences want. They think they want more Bible movies, but they wouldn't be able to stomach it." Indeed. Could they even stomach the Bible? Are they even reading it?
- Perhaps one of the great things Hipster Catholics, many Evangelicals and all suburban Catholics have in common is they don't read Scripture - at least not in context. Thus (whether the movie is good or bad) they don't get what follows: if the film depicts a brutal hero in brutal times it is very much in the spirit of the Old Testament. If the film depicts a righteous man with feet of clay occasionally descending into doubt or sin, then he's like every single righteous man in both the Old and the New Testaments, with the single exception of Jesus. If the film depicts a righteous man doing his best to discern God's will and to follow it, although he follows it imperfectly and without fully understanding it, then he's not only like every righteous man in Scripture, he's exactly like every single practicing Christian or Jew who ever lived. And so, good movie or bad movie, why do the critics not seem to get this?
- This split in the Church at large is analogous to the reactions to Pope Francis. This is a generalization, but the Francis-bashers tend to be people for whom the Faith is a thing to box in and protect and nail down and contain. "It's alive!" is not a phrase that escapes from their mouths when it comes to Christ and His Church. And although there are no doubt Francis-haters who love this movie and Francis-lovers who hate it, the split is similar. Art can be a dangerous and disturbing thing, and whether this movie is good or bad, much of the negative reaction to it seems to come from people who are uncomfortable with agitation, with art that stirs the spirit - which is really what Pope Francis is doing with the Faith.