Friday, July 29, 2011

Bruce Almighty

I’ve seen Bruce Almighty several times, and at last have got round to what I’ve wanted to do since first seeing it: writing down all the different things it covers with respect to religion, faith, God etc.  I think it is quite remarkable how much is crammed into this 90-minute film.  Here is a list of the themes and ideas that crop up (no particular order or structure to this list).

The contrast between the first and last scene in Bruce’s attitude to his job and life in general
A reference to Chariots of Fire– a film about conflict between faith and profession
Bruce’s wife’s name is Grace, and she embodies that to him
Bruce’s initial view of God as either ignoring him completely or as a mean kid with a magnifying glass burning ants
God sending signals/signs/messages through mundane things such as pagers or road signs
Tongue in cheek jokes e.g. omni-presents, ‘smite me o mighty smiter’, many references to the number 7
God saying that his light is bright for most people who live their lives trying to hide from him
God’s complete knowledge of Bruce
The big questions of the film are how to handle ultimate power and how to make someone love you without affecting free will
Other themes include abuse of power and how and why God does or doesn’t answer prayers
Biblical references such as walking on water, parting red sea
The futility of using power for one’s own life and petty gain
The problem of God just saying ‘yes’ to all prayers
Everyone wins the lottery (classic prayer) one cause of the mass riot
Music includes ‘God-shaped hole’, ‘You’re a God’, ‘What if God was one of us?’
Even God can’t force love – Bruce tries
‘No matter how filthy something gets, you can always clean it right up’
‘Since when does anyone have a clue about what they want?’
Promotes everyday miracles e.g. ‘a teenager saying no to drugs and yes to an education’
Bruce’s life changes as he starts ‘being the miracle’ (helping people rather than just himself)
Reconciliation with arch-rival Evan
Honesty of Grace’s prayer vs token flippancy of Bruce’s, then Bruce’s true prayer
Bruce’s surrender to God’s will finalises the change in him, even via a road accident
The only time Bruce asks what God wants him to do, God says he wants Bruce to pray – about whatever he really cares about
Bruce understands what it means to see people through God’s eyes

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