Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #10

Re: Bee Movie (2008)

In your review of Bee Movie, I was surprised you didn’t take issue with the courtroom scene about the defense lawyer, an obvious slight against Christians in the same demeaning spirit as Inherit the Wind. I found the film to be mildly amusing too, but found this to be yet another stab at the Christian faith that isn’t really necessary for the film to be funny. (We get it, Hollywood. You hate us!) Still … as if any educated soul would take it to mean that man was put on this earth “by Almighty God” to exploit creation rather than be good stewards of it is bigotry. Couldn’t the writer have kept religion out of it? If Mel Gibson gets a slap for stereotyping Jews, why not Jerry Seinfeld — who apparently gets a pass by you, defenders of the film The Passion of the Christ.

I have to confess I barely remember the Bee Movie moment you describe. The gag in question sounds like an absurdist caricature of a religious attitude, not a realistic depiction of an educated interpretation of the scripture. Even if it’s a swipe, I’m not sure it’s totally unfair; even if they wouldn’t put it that way, some Christians do seem to feel more or less the way the gag suggests.

In any case, a throwaway gag, however problematic, isn’t remotely in the same league as the systematic agenda of Inherit the Wind or the complex but problematic portrayal of the Jews in The Passion of the Christ. Even to mention them in the same breath trivializes the issues under discussion in connection with the latter two films.

I’m not sure what you mean by “defenders of the film The Passion of the Christ.” I tried to deal with the subject of The Passion’s depiction of the Jews in a nuanced way, acknowledging the problematic aspects while clarifying what some felt were outright antisemitic elements. I don’t think The Passion is antisemitic, though I do think it has problematic elements. See my article The Passion of the Christ and Antisemitism” for more.

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