THE VISIT: Anger and Forgiveness | FCC 92

The repression of anger and the beauty of forgiveness are just two of the Christian themes we found in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. Join the conversation by listening to this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast and leaving your feedback below.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:47 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:30:05 – Christian Themes in The Visit
  • 00:59:02 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 01:11:40 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:18:03 – Lightning Round 
  • 01:19:45 – Upcoming

SPOILER ALERT: This blog post and the podcast it features will spoil certain plot details. Readers and listeners beware.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is replete with characters that repress their anger. The film opens on Loretta Jamison recounting the day she left her parents’ house for someone who would leave her after having two children. She doesn’t care so much about the man that left her, but she fixates on the fact that she hasn’t spoken to her parents in fifteen years because of the anger that has resided within her since the day of her liberation. The only reason she brings it up is because those now grandparents have expressed their desire to see their grandchildren. Hence the reason for the story proper: two children meeting their estranged grandparents for the first time.

This image from THE VISIT shows Becca and Tyler talking to Mom over Skype.

These children – novice filmmaker Becca and aspiring rapper Tyler (or “T-Diamond Stylus” to the “ladies”) – are also repressing their anger like their mother has shown them. Their anger, however, is directed toward their father who left them so many years ago. As children of divorced parents are wont to do, Becca and Tyler blame themselves for their father’s leaving and look for other ways to deflect reality. Tyler recalls freezing  in the middle of a crucial moment during a pee-wee football game and believes his father left because of that. Becca refuses to put any footage of her dad in her documentary because that would mean she forgives him – something she has not yet done.

Unfortunately, Loretta doesn’t get the chance to tell her parents that she has forgiven them. As it turns out, the Nana and Pop Pop with whom the children have been staying all week are not the real Nana and Pop Pop; the real grandparents were murdered by their counterfeits shortly before the children were dropped off at the train station. The truth is exposed at the last minute, and Becca and Tyler release their anger and aggression on the fake grandparents in self-defense just before the police arrive.

This image from THE VISIT shows Mom holding Becca and Tyler in the cop car.

But Becca and Tyler do have the chance to forgive their father; one could argue that their brush with death is a strong motivator. In the last scene, Loretta reveals the truth about the day she left; her tears imply that she regrets being angry for so long and now not being able to be reconciled to her parents. But she grabs Becca and through her pain tells her not to hold onto anger. The last frames we see are of the extant footage of Becca and Tyler’s dad, and their presence in the film signify that Becca (and Tyler, we can assume) has forgiven her father at last.

It’s a fact of life that people will get angry with other people; the point of the Christian walk is to release that anger by forgiving the person that made you angry. Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 18 that whenever someone sins against them, they are to go to that person immediately and settle the matter. Rock-headed Peter then asks Jesus, “How many times should I forgive someone?” Jesus responds thusly: “seventy-seven times.” Granted, this is an example of hyperbole being used to make a point, but the sentiment in Jesus’ words remain. Paul echoes this mentality when he urges the Ephesians to not let the sun go down on their anger and to be quick to forgive offenses.

After all, we are to forgive others as God has already forgiven us.

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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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people's hearts.
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  • Philip Heard

    Good job guys! What an interesting movie this was. Michael didn’t do a very good job of convincing us he didn’t like it. I thought it was quite good, and I am definitely not a fan of the horror genre, or found footage style camera work. The Visit just goes to show that something done well can transcend genre and connect with a wide audience. One thing I get from this film is how impordent laughter is. Proverbs 17:22(NKJV) says “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”

    and Psalm 126:1-3(NET) “When the Lord restored the well-being of Zion, we thought we were dreaming. At that time we laughed loudly and shouted for joy. At that time the nations said, “The Lord has accomplished great things for these people.” The Lord did indeed accomplish great things for us. We were happy.”

    Good humor and laughter don’t always come easy(note some of my jokes that crash and burn), but when something makes us genuinely laugh it does wonders for our disposition, and thus our ability to be a good witness. We also need to be careful what we find humor in, 1 Corinthians 13:6(NKJV) tells us that love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth”.

    By the way, you guys mentioned somebody called “Joshua son of none” I’m having a hard time figuring out if he was a clone or replicant of some sort, since he apparently had no parents? *rimshot*

    Anyway, my vote for Goosebumps is to save it for October. I think topical/seasonal episodes are fun!

    And lastly, the first GCTN Low Pressure Book Club selection is The Fellowship of the Ring, which will begin March 1st and conclude April 30th, giving anyone wanting to participate plenty of time to read and discuss it on Goodreads. Early Birds are welcome!

  • Philip Heard


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