Gareth Higgins (garethhiggins.net) is a writer and broadcaster from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who has worked as an academic and activist. He is the author of Cinematic States: America in 50 Movies and How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films. He blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.wordpress.com and co-presents “The Film Talk” podcast with Jett Loe at www.thefilmtalk.com. He is also a Sojourners contributing editor. Originally from Northern Ireland, he lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Posts By This Author
Cinema Review 2008: The Top Ten
2008: Cinema in Review
Bill Maher's Religulous: Polemic Based on Cynical Preconceptions
A 'Call and Response' to End Modern Slavery
Lakeview Terrace: Somewhat Thoughtful Thriller
The number one film at the U.S. box office this past weekend was Lakeview Terrace, Neil La Bute's somewhat thoughtful thriller in which an LAPD officer harasses his new neighbors; the cop is black, the neighbors are an inter-racial couple. If the ethnic identities were switched, the film might never have been made; and if it had, it would have been a far less interesting film -
Randy Newman's Harps and Angels and the Fall of the American Empire
Randy Newman might be surprised to see himself mentioned on a progressive spirituality blog. In his five decades of making music that is alternately brilliantly satirical and elegant (and sometimes both), he hasn't often smiled on religion or religious people. In spite of his skepticism about spirituality, he also has written some of the most beautiful love songs I've ever [...]
Two Questions of a Soon-to-be Immigrant
In a few weeks, I will make a life-changing journey. After 33 years of living in Northern Ireland, and for very good reasons, I am about to become an immigrant. I'm excited about this move, not least because I believe that doing something new is one of the best ways to grow as a human being.
But two questions come to mind as I prepare myself for leaving home.
The first is, "What will it feel like to be an immigrant?" Will I be welcomed by the people in my adopted [...]
The Dark Knight: A Tribute to George W. Bush?
The Dark Knight, unlike many summer blockbusters, is actually an astonishing movie -- a stunning fusion of craft and entertainment, which manages to be both gripping in an edge-of-your seat fashion, and philosophically interesting. It's a violent film in which none of the brutality is played for the audience's pleasure, and although it's a comic book story, it takes place in a [...]
Hancock: Promising Premise, Great Talent, but ...
(Spoiler warning--some major plot details are revealed in this article. Stop reading now if you want to see the movie without knowing the outcome. However by the time you've read this article you may not want to see it anyway.)
"Hancock" (the current vehicle for the biggest star in the world, Will Smith) is a superhero story that, on the surface, seems to [...]
Diplomacy = Hitler Appeaser?
President Bush's remarks, made last week in Israel, suggesting that anyone who wishes to talk with a violent enemy is the contemporary equivalent of a Hitler appeaser, are so wide of the mark, patronizing, and simply untrue that they must be challenged.
The fact that he used the emotive context of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations as the background for these comments is an abuse of an already misused people. And implying that Sen. Obama wishes to appease terrorism is not [...]
I've been traveling lately, and in various hotels and friend's guest rooms, have seen more TV than usual. This sojourn away from my usual ignorance of broadcast television has provided the following dubious delights:
Charlton Heston: Complex Icon
Charlton Heston died this weekend at age 84, following Roy Scheider and Richard Widmark as the latest in a series of powerful cinematic actors to pass away -- although Heston was probably best known to a younger generation as the old guy who walked out of a Michael Moore interview in Bowling for Columbine. His was an ambivalent life
Who Should Win the Oscars
As I wrote here last week, this year's Oscars, which take place on Sunday night, seem to have caught a cultural mood in cinema that's worthy of reflection
The Moral Pulse of the Oscars
The Oscars are a little under two weeks from now - with the threat of the writer's strike leading to an unexpected interruption of one of the most surreal nights of the pop culture year now gone. Rich and famous folk slapping each other on the back, handing out gold statuettes for works of art that many of us haven't seen. It has always surprised me how the winning speeches rarely seem to mention the films that have [...]
Juno: A Truly Pro-Life Film
Last night I finally saw Juno, Roger Ebert's favorite film of 2007 and recipient of four Oscar nominations, which has as its center the story of an unplanned pregnancy and the people affected by it. The protagonist, Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page in one of those so-good-she's-either-brilliant-or-really-like-that-in-real-life performances, is a misfit attracted to her male mirror image. Wiser beyond [...]
Sweeney Todd and the Spiral of Violence
Tim Burton's striking and gruesome film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical 'Sweeney Todd' made me feel alternately impressed by Johnny Depp's singing talent and wince at the violence. The story of a 19th century barber who avenges the loss of his wife and daughter by providing the closest shave ever to a litany of customers including the judge who caused his pain left me preoccupied by [...]
Enduring Works of Beauty
I would love to live as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
The Irish writer, priest, and environmental activist, and my beloved friend - John O'Donohue - died unexpectedly and peacefully in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 4, 2008. His witness to peace, his work on the human heart, and his actions [...]
My Top 11 (OK, 12) Films of 2007
This will be my final post for the God's Politics blog in 2007, and given that it's the time of year for lists, here's my choice of the films that have struck me the most in the past 12 months. (I should acknowledge that I haven't seen There Will Be Blood as it hasn't been released in my homeland yet
Where Does 'The Golden Compass' Point ?
Here's the good news: The Golden Compass does not promote atheism. It isn't going to steal your children. It does not signal the end of hope for religion in the West. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: it promotes the same, shallow "don't touch my stuff or I'll kill you" message that appears in so much of popular culture. But more than this, in spite of delightful visual imagery, [...]
'No Country for Old Men': Thoughtful, Frightening, and Beguiling
When a film ends with the recounting of a dream in which a weather-beaten, life-weary man searches for the fire his father is building to warm them, it's impossible not to think of the love we all yearn for and can hopefully muster. It's also a welcome spiritual respite when that film has seduced its audience on a journey into a hell of the relentless violence that follows a man after he steals [...]