A few years ago a film came out that my wife and I had wanted to see, but we didn’t get around to seeing it in the theatre. So when it came out on DVD, I stopped by a local video rental and picked it up. In our family, we don’t watch R-rated films. Since I knew that this particular film had been rated PG-13, I hadn’t bothered looking at the rating on the DVD when I rented it, I just hurriedly found the title and picked it up.
Even though we both wanted to see it, my wife ended up watching the movie without me while I was at work. She called me, shocked, because the film contained a scene full of gratuitous nudity and explicit sexual activity. Embarrassed, I double checked that the film had been PG-13 using an Internet search. A closer look at the DVD container showed that the DVD contained an “Unrated” version of the movie. We had fallen for a bait-and-switch! The theatrical version had been rated PG-13, but it was not available to be rented on DVD. You could only rent the “Unrated” version.
I have sometimes contemplated what a Mormon movie that depicts how divine or angelic beings interact with mortals would look like. How would such a movie be different from Highway to Heaven or Touched by an Angel? There are a number of movies that follow or satirize a Catholic vision. Last year I watched Inception and found myself drawing parallels between the concepts presented there and my speculation on how inspiration from the Holy Ghost might be received and processed (or resisted) on a semi-conscious level.
In this essay, I will contrast The Adjustment Bureau to what a hypothetical Mormon movie that treats some of the same themes might look like. Some good background is provided in Eric Snider’s review. The Snide one remarks “The film wisely avoids specific talk of God or religion, speaking in terms that allow viewers to apply the ideas to their own beliefs, whatever they may be.”