Films Music

The Choir – A Review

François Girard, 89 mins Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger, Garrett Wareing

This film is manipulative, predictable and its storyline of wise old teacher helps deprived young pupil has been done many times before.  And I loved it.  Dustin Hoffman brings dignity and gravitas to his role, Eddie Izzard shows himself to be a decent serious actor and the filming is good.  However what absolutely makes this film is the music.  I totally love it and I totally believe in the redemptive power of such music, because I believe in the redemptive power of Christ – and ultimately all beauty and music comes from the Triune God.   I loved this film so much that I have just ordered the DVD…I would suggest you do so as well….


    1. Not sure I agree John. A bit pedantic? The cross was made of wood, part of creation…Christ was human, part of creation and so on. Music often points us to the cross, or the need of redemption….its all part of redemption….so I am happy to use the language of redemption for the role that creation plays in it….

      1. Without taking up cudgels I’d add this: anything that ‘delivers’ (especially at cost) is redemptive and can provide an illustration of biblical redemption (itself a concept drawn from examples of redemption). The metaphor points to the reality: the type informs the anti type.

        But while the illustration points to the reality I worry when the illustration and reality/type and anti type are too closely identified for values from the reality are easily given to the illustration that it never was intended to carry. Adam is a type of Christ but in Romans 5 Paul goes to pains to point out the discontinuities are greater than the continuities so that Christ has no rival and there is no confusion.

        Music lifts the human spirit and influences the emotions. It may deliver from depression (David playing for Saul) but it doesn’t redeem in the sense the cross does. My concern is that your language conflates the two and the distinctions could easily be lost or ignored.

        I say this because there is climate all to ready to do just this. Liberal (and liberation) theologies are keen to express gospel redemption/deliverance in ways that are far removed from the biblical concept and do what Diabolos deceives them into doing – using biblical language but injecting meanings into that language that it was never intended to have.

        Music with gospel lyrics has (gospel) redemptive power if faith hears its gospel word, but it is the words that save; music, by itself, has no (gospel) redemptive power, though it may set ‘the heart strings strumming’. There is no gospel redemptive word/voice in creation special gospel revelation is required for this and it renews the whole man.

      2. My concerns are part of a bigger discussion – the nature of the relationship between creation and redemption or creation/new creation or nature/grace. Increasingly evangelicals come down on the Al Wolters/Bavinck position that redemption is simply creation restored. The narrative is creation-fall-new creation. Here God’s purpose is creation which when disrupted by sin must be restored. Restored creation is just that. New creation adds nothing it simply restores the old. I don’t subscribe to this.

        My view, increasingly labelled gnostic (or Roman Catholic), both words intended to discredit it, is that new creation does add what is substantially new. Adam was not Christ nor a Christian. He did not have eternal life. He was not new creation. He did not know life in the Spirit. The narrative is not creation-fall-redemption but is properly-speaking Christ or new creation-creation-fall-redemption or new creation.

        Creation leads to new creation. There is continuity. Christ was truly human (born of Mary). But there is discontinuity. He was ‘that holy thing’. He was the first of a new kind of humanity. His supernatural birth signalled this (as does ours who bear the image not of the earthly but the heavenly). Ultimately this new humanity will be glorified receiving in the redemption of the body that which is immortal. Like Christ’s humanity in resurrection it is no longer possible for it to die (nor sin, nor marry).

        There are many substantive ‘additions’ in the transformation from creation to new creation. It is, in my view, mistaken and misleading to see glorification as merely the original creation restored. Mistaken notions like the present ‘redeeming of culture and society’ and the ‘best’ of human culture being brought into the final kingdom. (from works of art to the game of golf) flow from this theology.

        You’ll see from this why I am chary about attributing redemptive language to creation.

  1. It is a great film, David, and you’re so right about the music. It is essentially Harry Potter without the wizardry. Lost, ‘orphaned’ boy. Secret gift. Quaint old school. Dumbledore – and Severus Snape in the form of Eddie Izzard. We even have a young Malfoy to contend with.

    But who cares? It’s the music that sets the heartstrings strumming.

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