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This movie about a 9/11 widower challenges us with its adult treatment of complex issues, but it also ends with the possibility that people can change--which is, of course, at the very heart of the gospel message.
Reign Over Me
Publication Date:
6/13/2007
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Adult Study, Adult Study
Product Number:
TC0185

It's been eight years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but the memory of it still prompts a lump in our throats and a whisper of fear in our hearts. For that reason, recent movies about 9/11 have brought mixed responses from American audiences. While Flight 93 and World Trade Center, both released in 2006, received some critical acclaim, many filmgoers were not yet ready to confront their grief and anger by walking into a theater and watching a film directly concerned with the events of that dark day. Reign Over Me dramatically illustrates this grief and denial. But while employing the tragedy as a backdrop, it doesn't focus on the dramatic action of 9/11 but instead considers the way people (mostly men in this film) deal with grief by pushing it away from them and how such denial can lead to emotional deadness or suppressed rage.

Reign Over Me is also a study of grief and suffering in general, of the importance of community in dealing with sorrow, and of the joys and difficulties of pastoral care. While some critics had reservations about some elements of Reign Over Me, the film proves to be both deeply ethical and spiritual and well worth the time we might spend wrestling with the challenging concepts it depicts.

In this session, we'll discuss three scenes from the film that demonstrate the effects of grief, the psychological and sacramental value of confession, and the need of caregivers for self-care and reflection. In the course of our discussion, we'll explore theological and ethical questions as well as social and psychological ones: What are appropriate responses to grief? Are we our brothers' (and sisters') keepers? How can grief best be healed? How can we respond to pain and suffering without being overwhelmed by it? Reign Over Me challenges us with its adult treatment of complex issues, but it also ends with the possibility that people can change--which is, of course, at the very heart of the gospel message.

Greg Garrettis the author of We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2; Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief; The Gospel according to Hollywood; and Holy Superheroes!: Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Film.He is a novelist, a professor of English at Baylor University, writer-in-residence at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, and a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.


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