Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie Review: "Black Snake Moan"

This movie is as bizarre and eccentric as its title. It is a story, produced in twenty-oh-seven, of the many ways in which human beings can get lost, and the one Way that we find redemption-- Love. Only when we learn to love and to forgive ourselves and others can we find peace and joy.

The main characters are an African American man and a Caucasian woman. The man is named "Laz," and the woman is called "Rae." She has a terrible reputation as a "slut" or "whore," largely the outworking of her having been abused as a child. Laz has just lost his wife, and is in mourning over it; he heals himself by sincerely attempting to heal Rae. She later redeems her sanity by aiding her boyfriend Ronny. (In the end,she and Ronny are married.)

The bizarre story begins as Laz discovers Rae on the road, drunk and high, where she has been kicked from the car by her latest lover. Laz has no sexual interest in Rae; and he does not become sexually interested in her during the entire movie. Instead, he truly serves her by recognizing-- perhaps, for the first time-- that she is a human being, in need of real help. To keep her from fleeing, Laz wraps a very long chain around Rae. She resents this, and him, with extreme and great bitterness. But later, as she sees his good heart, she abandons her negativity, and begins to love him in her own way-- again, in a sexfree mode!

Laz gets much help, assistance, and practical aid from his friend who is a minister; but this minister is refreshingly human. He is no stuck-up, selfconscious, preachy "Christian." He lives, acts, thinks, and speaks like a "normal" human being, even swearing from time to time.

There is, in fact, quite a bit of swearing in this movie. But it is not used for shock-value or to stun. Instead, it seems to reflect the normal ambience of the people involved, and the atmosphere of their little southern town. It also reflects their deep frustrations with their lives.

The movie is rough and uncultured; the characters are hardly "finished," refined, or polished social products. They are all very human, in ways that all of us can recognize-- in ourselves as well as in others.

But it is in the over-riding transcendental theme that the movie really shines. For its theme is definitely Love, and how we can shine Love, as understanding, patience, and kindness, into each others' hearts and lives.

Love is stronger than associates, stronger than abuse, stronger than the past, stronger than mental or emotional illness. Love is irresistible; it is the greatest Power in the universe!

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