By Dr. Laura Wilhelm
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/30/20 – THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994), long regarded as a classic Christian parable, is currently the highest-rated film on IMDb. Based upon a short story by Stephen King and anchored by indelible performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, this moving prison drama continues to inspire viewers worldwide. TSR is now available for viewing on Netflix.
This reporter also recommends the following redemption narratives from Netflix. Happy holiday viewing!
TOOTSIE (1982)–starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Teri Garr, and Bill Murray. Hoffman famously dons a dress and becomes a better man in this riotous 1980s rom-com. His performance as a demanding and driven perfectionist who has a hard time relating to the common herd is said to mirror the actor’s own personality very accurately.
JERRY MAGUIRE (1996)–starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Regina King. Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who undergoes a moral epiphany that leaves him with only one client (Gooding), a college football player. Said football player and his hilarious family show Jerry Maguire and wife Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger) the way to more satisfying personal and professional relationships. Maguire’s desperate shout, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”, immediately caught on as a 90s catch phrase.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)–starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Lawrence. Genuinely funny family/romantic comedy based upon Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK that gently parodies many all-American sports and dance films. Cooper’s character eventually manages to improve matters with his family and find true love with Lawrence’s character after being released from a short stint in a mental institution. Who knew that a bowl of Raisin Bran shared in a diner could be redemptive?
DARK PLACES (2015)–starring Charlize Theron and Christina Hendricks. Gritty adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2015 novel by the same name that has perhaps been unjustly overshadowed by the better-known film GONE GIRL (2014) based upon another of Flynn’s novels. Theron’s hard-boiled and blunted character comes to realize that redemption is possible for herself as well as for her brother, who is wrongfully incarcerated for many years after their mother (Hendricks) and two sisters are murdered.
A LITTLE CHAOS (2015)–starring Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, and Stanley Tucci. Charming historical drama about a feisty femme (Winslet) who redeems herself from guilt and despair over a family tragedy by co-designing one of the gardens in Versailles. Worth seeing for Rickman and Tucci’s star turns as King Louis XIV and his LGBT brother Philippe alone. Rickman also directed the film.
THE CASE FOR CHRIST (2017)–starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, and Faye Dunaway. Engrossing true-life account of journalist Lee Strobel’s journey from atheism to an active Christian faith. The “case for Christ” is thoughtfully examined from archaeological, historical, literary, medical, and psychological as well as spiritual perspectives with the resurrection of Christ at its center. Lee Strobel later became a teaching pastor and authored many celebrated books about Christian theology.