On this episode of Finding Christ In Cinema, we literally bring all the words and the one, true Word to life as we find Christian themes in the film Inkheart. Is Mo hiding his spiritual gift under a bushel? Is he incessantly searching for his wife like Jesus searches for his lost sheep? All that and more in 3…2…1!
Inkheart‘s Spiritual Gifts…and Letting Them Shine Before Men
In the film Inkheart, we see a phenomenal skill: the ability to literally bring to life that which has been read aloud. People who have this ability are called Silvertongues, and they are very few and far between. One such Silvertongue is our protagonist Mortimer “Mo” Folchart, who reads to life the red velvet cape from the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” in the opening scene. From there, we fast forward some years to see Mo and his daughter Meggie riding through the European countryside. Mo is looking for a certain book, and he finds it just before a calamitous encounter with a old “freaky” man. As they are escaping, Meggie’s curiosity gets the better of her as she reaches for the book.
Mo, however, chooses to keep Meggie in the dark about his gift. In fact, he hasn’t read aloud anything since he made his wife – Meggie’s mother – disappear; after all, something from the real world must take the place of the recently transported fictional character in the fictional world. He explains this as he, Meggie, and mother-in-law Elinor are held captive by the villainous Capricorn. Mo has a wonderful gift, but he doesn’t want to use it for fear of losing someone else he loves: his daughter. It’s out of this fear that Mo is hiding his wonderful gift, but as the story goes on, he is then forced to use it in order to save his family. Of course, this is all only in the first act of the film, and the story takes some more interesting turns as it goes on.
First of all, we as Christians can see Mo’s ability as a spiritual gift; yes, we can see it as a type of spiritual gift that fits under Paul’s description of such gifts he wrote to the Corinthians:
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. (I Corinthians 12:4-7 NET)
Everyone can benefit from Mo’s gift. Admittedly, it may seem childlike in nature, but it is actually profound in being able to produce that kind of joy and excitement. The stakes are raised, however, when the scene calls for Mo to use his gift not for entertainment’s sake but for saving his daughter and mother-in-law. And it’s at that point where Mo has to use his gift more extremely.
In fact, if Mo’s gift could be considered a “light,” then this highly cited passage from the Sermon on the Mount definitely applies to Mo’s situation:
You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NET)
Until the moment of Mo having to choose between not using his gift at all and using it to save Meggie and Elinor, he had been hiding his gift because he thought it would better serve and protect them. As the story pans out, however, he is brought to a situation in which he has to use that gift and let that light shine in order to save them from death.
And who knows? Maybe once we start letting our spiritual gifts shine before men (not for our own glory, but for God’s), we can plant the seed of the Good News that can save people from eternal death.
Inkheart and the Lost Sheep
Michael brings a simpler – yet no less powerful – point to today’s episode: the fact that Mo searches for his wife in the same way that Jesus Himself searches and calls us to search for the lost sheep.
So Jesus told them this parable: “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent. (Luke 15:3-7)
Ever since Mo’s wife Resa has been missing, Mo hasn’t stopped looking for her. In fact, although we don’t see it play out in the film, we gather from a title card that Mo and Meggie have been searching the book Inkheart for many years. In the same way, Jesus is willing to leave the fold of His pen to search out anybody who happened to be lost.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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