On Friday, October 22, our church held a special free preview of the new movie, I AM. This special preview was only held in select churches across the country. The movie will be released to the general public on DVD on November 2, 2010.
In its opening moments, author Lee Strobel (who has written several apologetics books including The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator,and The Case for Faith, among others) talks about the Ten Commandments and what their role was intended to be in our lives. He brought out the fact that God created us and, as our Creator, knows what is best for us. He gave us the Ten Commandments to protect our best interests, not ruin any fun we might have in life. The Ten Commandments also show us that it is impossible for us to measure up to His standards, and point us to our need of a Savior, Who is Jesus Christ.
The premise of the movie concerns what happens when we live our lives as if the Ten Commandments did not exist. The title of the movie, I AM, refers to the name of God by which He referred Himself to Moses at their meeting at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13 and 14). This name, I AM, refers to God’s character as being a trustworthy, ever-present God to His people.
The movie tells the stories of several people and the choices they make, many of them self-serving. It links the different commandments to these choices, and often sheds new light on looking at what the commandments mean. For instance, one of the characters, Angelica, is dying of cancer, but is determined to outwit death in order to keep her brother, Lance, from inheriting any of the money bequeathed to them by their late father. She is extremely focused on herself and her own desires, and self-preservation at any cost is her goal. She has no use for God. This is a picture of idolatry, which breaks the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Another commandment is, “You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This was illustrated in the movie by a marketing idea for bottled water that Lance came up with: the name of the bottled water was God Water, and the slogan was “Perfect refreshment by the Creator of perfection.” Using God’s name for marketing purposes truly is disrespectful and mocking toward the Creator of the universe, when you stop to think about it. It lowers Him to a mere brand name for a product and strips Him of His glory and majesty as the Creator and Sustainer of all. In short, it is blatantly disrespectful. Again, this is a different way of looking at how we break this commandment, and we don’t even think about it. Usually we think of not using God’s name as a swear word when we think of this commandment, but it really does go far deeper than that.
Throughout the movie the rest of the commandments were linked to different attitudes and choices of the characters. It became apparent, as the movie went on, that all these attitudes and choices had a ripple effect that, in one way or another, intertwined their lives, even though they did not necessarily know each other. This goes to show that the choices we make do not just affect ourselves; the choices we make affect the lives of those closest to us, and even spread out to touch the lives of those we may have never heard of. “No man is an island unto himself,” as the saying goes.
Throughout the movie, one single character is constant as he dialogues with each of the other characters while they deal with the issues in their lives. At first I thought this character represented an angel, but it became clear that this character actually represented God. This showed the fact that God is caring and concerned about people and what they are facing, and is willing to walk with us, guide us, and also correct us when we are going the wrong way.
In the end, this movie wraps up in positive ways for many of the characters as they learn from their mistakes and take to heart the lessons that God has taught them.
I AM is a somewhat confusing movie to watch because of how it weaves in and out between the different characters’ stories. It is definitely a movie that you have to pay attention to in order to get the meaning out of it; it is thought-provoking. Watching it a couple of times would be a good idea in order to clearly understand everything going on in this movie.
I AM will be available on DVD in retail outlets on November 2, 2010. Netflix will also offer it for rent. For more information on this movie, go to www.iamthemovie.com. This movie is rated PG-13.
Resources: First-hand review of the movie I AM.