-Pastor Melissa Fain-
This summer we are going to the movies!
Today's movie is The Devil's Advocate. You can watch it free on TubiTv. Spoilers if you just want to read, and don't want to see it first.
About the Movie
Kevin Lomax is a hotshot defender in Gainesville, Florida. He has never lost a case. As the audience meets him, that is all about to change. Thinking he was defending an innocent man, he realizes he is actually a pedophile. Disgusted, he recollects himself, swallows back the abhorrence, and goes on the win the case.
His wife, Mary Anne, is thrilled for him as they go out and celebrate another win.
While they are out, Kevin gets a card to go up to New York and help a firm pick a jury. The couple are ecstatic. This was the big break they were hoping for.
That's when things do not go as planned. See, the head of the law firm is the literal devil. The couple is moved into a high rise that is filled with literal demons. Mary Anne catches on as the ladies sometimes reveal their demonic smiles. Whether this is on accident or on purpose, it causes her to second guess herself, and want to go home. They also convince her to let go of the best parts of herself. Her vibrant curly blonde hair. Her go-to attitude to own her first choice. Her very joy.
All this is happening, as the world is being given to Kevin. Only, with every choice he has to sacrifice a piece of this marriage.
This comes to a head when Mary Anne kills herself and he confronts the devil. Come to find out, Kevin is a child of the devil and the devil wants him to procreate to create the literal Anti-Christ. Mourning his lost wife, Kevin chooses to end his own life, taking away the devil's future.
That's when time rewinds to the moment he decided to win for the pedophile. Realizing his luck, he kisses his now alive wife, and recuses himself from the trial because he can no longer be his client's attorney.
The last scene is a reporter asking for an interview. This choice will make Kevin big. Kevin relents. He'll do the interview the next day. As Kevin and Mary Anne leave, the reporter morphs into the devil. His favorite sin is vanity.
In Job the devil is part of the divine council.
One of the many great failures of Christendom is the phrase, "the Devil made me do it," being taken and used so seriously. The phrase takes away accountability. No longer is "sin" something we must understand and change in ourselves. Sin becomes something a devil made us do, and therefore, our failure was a moment of supernatural puppeteering, and that's all.
Meanwhile, the view of an Ancient Near East devil is not one who puppeteers unsuspecting good guys and gals at all. In fact, in Job, Satan is part of the divine council. It's Satan's job to test people and see how they react. In Job, the whole worldview was good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. Only good things had happened to Job, so it appears his friends believe he's a good person. When God takes everything away (and yes, it was God that took it away, not Satan), his friends believe Job must have done something wrong. Satan only states something that might happen if everything is taken away from Job, then God takes everything away from Job.
What I love about Devil's Advocate is the devil doesn't technically do anything to Kevin. Conversely, he gives him good advice. He tells him to let the case go and take care of his wife. At the end of the movie, Kevin tries to pin it on the devil, telling him the devil made him do those things. That's when he's corrected. No, the devil didn't make Kevin do anything. In actuality, the devil suggested he do the right thing. Kevin was the one who kept making the wrong choices.
Here's a crazy idea: What if, Kevin being a child of the devil, the devil actually was testing Kevin to keep him on the right path? This isn't the devil that sits in Hell trying to ruin humanity to stick it to the big guy. This is a devil who made some poor choices, and doesn't want anyone else to make the same choices. The devil didn't need to restart time at the end of the movie. Maybe it was all a dream, a chance for a parent to help a child see what could happen if he followed the path he was taking.
You might ask, why am I suggesting the devil is the good one in this movie? It's because we, as a nation, have either turned our neighbor into an object, or villainized beyond their humanity. We need to be following someone who has hope in the unity and restoration of a new world. No, not the world we left. That is an old hope, and old hopes will never take us anywhere. Maybe that starts with seeing the humanity in the most villainized creature in Biblical canon: The devil.
And yes, I'm a Christian, and proud to be a Christian. Just realize- those you villainize today, was yesterday's neighbor.
This coming week's movies:
7/3 Worship: Family Man
7/5 Meditation: The Illusionist
Remember, this can be found to watch for free on TubiTv.