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When it comes to movies, if it isn’t making me laugh or featuring an alien or a car chase, or a funny alien in a car chase, I’m kind of lost. When I was asked to prescreen a movie called The Song, I had no idea what I was getting into.
Spoiler alert: there are no aliens.
This movie messed me up. It’s been a week and I’m still kerfuffled. (Stick with me, because I’m going to tell you why I think you should see it.)
Modern Day Solomon
The movie is about Solomon.
As in, son of King David.
As in, guy who built the temple.
As in, guy who wrote the sexiest words in history, and also the most desolate.
I’ve always puzzled over how someone could write beautiful lines about love and sex to his wife the Shulammite in Song of Solomon, but end up with thousands of wives and concubines writing “Everything is meaningless” is Ecclesiastes. How does the wisest man in history who loved God end up worshipping false gods?
It’s a puzzle, one that this movie unlocks a little for me. It’s set in modern day, about a singer named Jed King, son of David King (See what they did there?), who finds his muse in a girl named Rose…from the town of Sharon (Fellow Bible nerds, prepare to geek out about all the parallels between King Solomon and this rock star Jed.).
This Movie Will Churn Stuff Up
The trailer says it’s based on the book Song of Solomon, but it’s also based on the book of Ecclesiastes, because you can’t tell the story of Solomon without both, and I’ve never understood how both could be written by the same man until now.
As soon as I realized who it was about, I saw what was coming, like the first time I saw Titanic. That ship was going to hit that iceberg whether I screamed at the screen or not, and I felt like that as The Song unfolded.
This movie is gritty and unsettling, and I can’t quit thinking about it. I think it challenges us to a deeper conversation about marriage and sex than the Church has been willing to have, and as it’s tethered directly into scripture, we can’t squirm out of dealing with Solomon’s journey and choices and how relevant they are today. If you’ve had a marriage that’s struggled or have walked that road with a friend or family member, this movie will churn stuff up.
I don’t watch a lot of dramas or romances, but I love talking about marriage in all its beautiful mess. Marriage is so freaking hard and we don’t always get everything right and this movie pulls no punches. Sometimes it’s easier to watch “happily ever after” movies, about the gooey stuff leading up to the marriage, but that leaves us at the beginning of the story. The Song gives us gooey, but it doesn’t leave us there. It wades deeper, into the work of relationship with jobs and kids and pressure.
I was ready to run back to my funny aliens and never tell you about it, but the truth is, I can’t get it out of my mind. You’ll love some of the characters then hate some and we all might have different feelings about them. I for one wish for once in a faith-based movie the God-girl got to be the one covered in tats.
A New Aspect of Scripture
Tattoo stereotypes aside, though, I really appreciate this modern day look at King Solomon and the ups and downs of his reign. Art is a terrible preacher, but a tremendous conversationalist. And this piece of art, this film, reveals an aspect of scripture that’s new to me. It helps me fathom a wise man in love with his bride and his God, who somehow ends up really far from home. It’ll make you look at your own marriage and what you’re capable of.
I’m impressed with how well they translated King Solomon into rock star Jed King. From the verses woven throughout the movie to building the temple, to worshipping false gods, it works. There’s even a vineyard. I know nothing about music, but if you’re into the Nashville music scene, there are many instruments with people playing them a lot (Forgive me. Maybe if aliens were the ones playing the instruments, like in Star Wars….).
Often times we – I, me – criticize faith-based movies for feeling the need to put a bow on everything. I do that with blog posts, too. “Everything is really horrible and hard, but here’s the spiritual lesson I’m learning and how it’s all working out so yay for Jesus.” The Song doesn’t stick arbitrary bows on things. I feel like it’s the real deal.
When I realized this movie was a love story, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get into it, but it’s so much more than that. It’s not just a love story; it’s a life story, one that resonates both in my heart and in the pit of my stomach. On a gut level, it sinks in and stays with you.
Agghh, go see The Song so I have someone to talk to about it. Here’s the trailer: