Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Monuments Men

Entertainment with Historical Value
By Jan McClure

Good News Movie Review of
The Monuments Men

Director: George Clooney
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jean Dujardo, John Goodman, Bill Murray,
Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchette

It’s been interesting to hear the reactions from friends and family who have viewed this movie. The results are divided. Some found that the film too slow, and others found it very delightful. I am of the latter. I found the film very enjoyable. It had adventure, heroes, sadness with just the right comedic relief, and important historical scenes. The film was based on a true story, a part of history that I had never heard before. This might just be the greatest treasure hunt ever told!

The film is a Second World War drama about a group of museum directors, curators and art historians who are on a mission to recover art works that had been stolen by the Nazis. The movie is based on the non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. And what treasure they discovered!

These unlikely heroes became soldiers and went into Germany with the mission of rescuing stolen art from the Nazi’s and returning them to their rightful owners. They risked their lives to save the history and culture of European artwork before Hitler could destroy them. Hitler had confiscated over six million pieces of art, including works by Picasso and Michelangelo, many of which were taken from Catholic Churches.

Director George Clooney (who played the main character, Frank Stokes) said in an interview that they changed the names of the original soldiers and added a little more entertainment and excitement to the film, but the general story is true.

Much of the film is based around finding two main pieces: Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges and the Ghent Altarpiece. The movie showcases the beauty and history of art, and I was amazed to see that so much of it was based on our Catholic heritage. I couldn’t help feeling that the Blessed Mother Mary was smiling behind the film, because I am sure she touched many hearts in the audience. The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is so very true in this movie!

Hitler’s goal was to eliminate Jewish and Christian religious influences by stealing and destroying private collections of art. In the Old Testament, we see this over and over: People would forget their history and create new gods, turning away from the Lord, and thus their faith would be forgotten. Generations are changed by eliminating knowledge of their history. We see this today. Our current culture is about what is new -- consumerism -- rather than about preserving the old and a clear understanding of history. Many families don’t go to church these days, and consequently their family's faith history is forgotten.

The film is rated PG-13 and is truly entertaining while informative of our history. It is an amazing, true story. On a side note, in November 2013, 1400 pieces of stolen art were found in Germany that had been hidden for all these years.

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (and we hope you will post a comment below!):
  1. How is art a part of our cultural history? What type of art would represent our present culture?
  2. How many generations does it take to forget our history and our cultural ways? How does that effect our faith?
  3. Do you have art in your home that reflects your culture, history or faith?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please contribute to this discussion. All posts are moderated for the greater glory of God. Therefore, there will be a delay while we manually approve each post.