Monday, October 22, 2007

Dealing with Sin

Over the weekend we made a trip to the video store. An depressing endeavor when you realize what trash passes for entertainment these days. I was so pleased to see The Last Sin Eater. I had heard about the film and was anxious to watch it. I was not disappointed.

The film is based on a novel by Francine Rivers. The story is set in early 19th century Appalachia. The plot focuses on a group of Welsh immigrants. Theirs is a close knit community with deep Celtic roots.

When this group came to America they brought with them a number of traditions, one of which was the ritual of the Sin Eater. The community designated one individual that would take on the sins of folks when they died. This was done symbolically during the funeral by eating bread and wine placed on the body. The idea was that upon the removal of sins the individual who had died is then able to rest in peace. The Sin Eater however is banished from the community, only to return when summoned by "the passing bell."

In the story a travelling evangelist comes to the area to spread the "truth." He encounters a young girl who is very troubled over her sins. Her younger sister had died and she felt responsible. She explains that she must find the Sin Eater because she can not wait until she is dead, that would be too long to bear the guilt of her past. The preacher shares with her that God has long ago sent One who could take her sin away. She asks if this Sin Eater has a name, she is told his name is Jesus.

The film is fairly well done and the scenery is beautiful. If you are looking for high quality, big budget special effects you will not find them here. But, for me that is not a huge concern. There are some interesting plot twists that cast a bright light on the human condition. More importantly, the message of God's grace in Christ shines through brilliantly. Not surprising that his film didn't do well in the theaters and was a bomb with most secular movie critics. But, it is well worth renting. I would especially encourage pastors to consider showing it for their congregation or in a small group setting.

There are a few scenes that might be unsettling for younger children. The film is rated PG-13. Make plans to rent this film. It will be a blessing. You will find an interview with the screen writer/director, Michael Landon Jr. here.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Thank you for the review and recommendation.

I'll check it out.