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.
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.
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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