‘Noah’ and the Beside-the-Point Religion Question

‘Noah’ and the Beside-the-Point Religion Question

[Los Angeles Times]

Russell Crowe stars in Darren Aronofsky's Bible epic "Noah." (Paramount Pictures)
Russell Crowe stars in Darren Aronofsky’s Bible epic “Noah.” (Paramount Pictures)

The box office results of Russell Crowe‘s “Noah” this weekend ushered in, as it inevitably would, report cards on how the movie fared with religious audiences. The run-up to the film’s release included plenty of conversation about whether director Darren Aronofsky sufficiently took into account more devotional readings of the text (and, more to the point, people who have devotional readings of the text). The post-release debate could, then, only continue that examination, asking to what extent the film’s $44 million in U.S. box office came from that constituency, and the feelings toward the movie from same.

In one sense these are fair questions. Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures put religion at the center of the debate, first by building a movie from the bones of a Genesis story and then by making religion part of the movie’s campaign. If you court the pope as part of your promotional efforts, you can’t exactly cry foul if religious leaders are weighing in.

Still, the question of how much “Noah” deviates from the text — and more precisely, how much an audience thinks it deviates from the text — seems rather irrelevant, and I’ll admit to being irked if not surprised by how much it’s been bandied about in recent weeks.

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