Monday, December 08, 2014

So much of the story is in the telling

Forbes reviews the new Exodus film (HT: Andrew Wilson)
"Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (trailer) is a terrible film. It is a badly acted and badly written melodrama that takes what should be a passionate and emotionally wrenching story and drains it of all life and all dramatic interest. It hits all the major points, like checking off boxes on a list, yet tells its tale at an arms-length reserve with paper-thin characters. It is arguably a film intended for adults, with violence that makes a mockery of its PG-13 rating, yet it has far less nuance, emotional impact, and moral shading than DreamWorks Animation’s PG-rated and seemingly kid-targeted The Prince of Egypt."
And a recent study shows...
Fiction readers make great friends as they tend to be more aware of others' emotions...Literary fiction enhanced participants' empathy because they had to work harder at fleshing out the characters. The process of trying to understand what those characters are feelings and the motives behind them is the same in our relationships with other people.
Five thoughts:

1. Good stories are hard to tell.

2. It's easy to see what a good story lacks than what a good story should contain. I'm particularly struck however by the observations about well developed characters and the problem of telling a story at arms length.

3.  As a lover of fiction - who rejected it altogether for a couple of bleak and unimaginative years before University, and who is enjoying introducing his five year old to good fiction I'm encouraged at the wide ranging benefits to his imagination and character that this might bring.

4.  I'm also helped by the thought that there is correlation between social skills and reading great literature. As someone who doesn't exactly have outstanding interpersonal skills, it's good to know that the pages of a good book can help rather than hinder me in my journey... as long as I don't spend all my time in a book.

5.. As a preacher, I realise it'd be easy for good preaching of Exodus, for example, to fail in the same way this film apparently does. I've not seen the film so I'm merely reflecting on the review rather than the film. Even the best stories can be killed by the way they're understood and told.

Pic: Brioso (Creative Commons)