Reviewed by: Malaika Ware
RACIAL PREJUDICE—What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer
I think I was sexually abused, but I'm not sure. What is sexual abuse, and what can I do to stop the trauma I am facing now? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
Suicide, what does the Bible say? Answer
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
|Featuring:||Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany, Hilarie Burton, Tristan Wilds, Nate Parker, See all »|
“Love and Basketball”
|Producer:||Donners’ Company, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, Ed Cathell III, James Lassiter, Ewan Leslie, Joe Pichirallo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lauren Shuler Donner, Will Smith|
|Distributor:||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
The film begins with Lilly (Dakota Fanning—“War of the Worlds,” “Man on Fire”) recalling the events preceding her mother’s (Hilarie Burton) death for which she feels responsible. Lilly was 4 years old when her mother died. Fast forward 10 years and Lilly is turning 14 years old, living with her abusive father (Paul Bettany), missing her mother tremendously, and desperately trying to find out more about her. As a matter of fact, for her 14th birthday, Lilly suggests to her father that instead of buying her a charm bracelet, she would love to hear from him more about her mother. In response, he makes one condescending remark about her mother and then goes to work, leaving her with her caretaker, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), a black woman.
The only memories that Lilly had of her mother were in her head and a few items in a box hidden in the peach tree fields. One night, Lilly goes out into the field and digs up this box. She looks at the items, and then she lies down with her eyes closed and places the items on her stomach as if she’s praying to God to give her insight into her mother’s life. When Lilly’s father catches her buttoning up the bottom portion of her shirt, he incorrectly accuses her of engaging in promiscuous behavior and then administers a grueling punishment which leaves both of her knees bleeding. The next day, Rosaleen takes Lilly with her to register to vote, but they are deterred by a group of racist white men and Rosaleen is beaten. It was these events that prompted Lilly to run away from home, help Rosaleen escape from the hospital (where she had been treated for her injuries and arrested for her “behavior”), and journey to Tiburon, South Carolina. Tiburon was the home of the well-to-do Boatright Sisters-May (Sophie Okonedo), June (Alicia Keys), and August (Queen Latifah—“The Perfect Holiday,” “Hairspray”). It was there that Lilly (and Rosaleen) learned about her mom, love, faith, and forgiveness.
The overwhelming theme of the movie was the importance and the power of love, on all levels. May Boatright suffered from depression, but instead of admitting her to a psychiatric hospital, as “everyone” had recommended they do, June and August took care of her at home and they gave her the idea for an outlet for her grief-The Wailing Wall. The Boatright Sisters, who were black, took in Lilly, who was white and loved her as if she were one of their biological daughters. Lilly reciprocated that love. During a time when racism and segregation was a way of life for residents of the South, such relationships were uncommon. August Boatright made a living producing and selling honey, and Zachary Taylor (Tristan Wilds), a black teenage boy who hoped to become an attorney one day, worked for her. It was Lilly’s relationship with Zach that led to her first experience with romantic love. Rosaleen had formed such a bond with May and the other sisters, that she was later given a new name, “July”. As I Corinthians 13 says about love,
“Love suffers long and is kind… it does not behave rudely… it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
The idea that faith empowers people was also apparent in the film, but the question is, “Faith in what?” In the movie, the Boatright Sisters believed that Black Mary was originally sent by God to bring comfort and encouragement to the Black slaves of the American South. Therefore, the Boatright Sisters and the other “Daughters of Mary” prayed to her (as the Boatrights had a statue of Black Mary in their home) and held Sunday worship services in her honor. While society tends to commend faith in something or anything, God’s Word is rather specific in whom we should place our faith:
Exodus 20:3-“You shall have no other gods before Me”.
Exodus 20:4,5a-“You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them”.
In the end, although Lilly does not go back to live with her father (one he finally locates her), she does forgive him. Forgiveness releases the offender from having to “right their wrong”. Jesus’ forgiveness released us all from that burden when He took on our sin and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24a). What an awesome example of forgiveness for us all!
While there were good lessons to be learned from the film, there were some other things that were disturbing and offensive:
Profane language-Everything was said from bulls_ _ t and b_ tch to Holy s_ _ t and G_ d d_ _n.
Suicide-After learning that Zach had been beaten and then kidnapped, May Boatright committed suicide.
Racial violence-Rosaleen was harassed for trying to register to vote and then was beaten for responding disrespectfully. As mentioned above, Zach was beaten and kidnapped for watching a movie at the theatre with Lilly.
Domestic violence-The abusive acts of Lilly’s father were difficult to watch.
Overall, I liked the movie. Gina Prince-Blythewood did a superb job of bringing the novel, written by Sue Monk Kidd, to the big screen. I laughed. I cried. The film was very moving, indeed! However, I find it difficult to recommend to others due to the characters’ worship of Black Mary (among other things), rather than Jesus Christ, who is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise.
The problem is that in the film, there is Biblical truth mixed in with the idol worship making it difficult for some to discern what is of God and what is not. Unfortunately, the goal of the enemy is to do whatever is necessary to lead us away from Jesus.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.