WARNING!! Everything you are about to read contains MAJOR spoilers about the movie Noah. In fact, if you go to see this movie after reading my review, it will be highly likely that you will know what’s about to happen right before it happens; that’s how detailed I plan to get in my synopsis of this movie. So be forewarned. Want to see the movie not knowing what’s going to happen? Go see it first and then come back and read my review. Otherwise, let’s get started…
This is the first movie review I’ve ever written about any film, much less a film that is supposedly about events and people one reads about in the Bible. Just to let you know right off the bat, my focus is not on critiquing the acting, the directing, the cinematography, etc. If you want that kind of review, there are plenty of places to go on the web to get it.
To comment briefly on such things before moving on, I did think Russell Crowe as Noah, Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife Naameh, Anthony Hopkins as Methuseleh, and Emma Watson as Ila all did fine acting jobs when it comes to portraying the characters as written in the Noah screenplay and as directed by Darren Aronofosky. As you will see, I wish the screenplay and the goals of the director about the message of the film were very different so these actors and actresses could have done a fine job acting out scenes which are based far more on biblical truth, but as far as simply critiquing them on their acting skills alone, they did a great job. Likewise, the special effects of the movie were top-notch in and of themselves, especially the flood scenes. I can definitely see why the movie cost millions of dollars to make. It was very well done from a cinematic standpoint.
But that’s not the focus on this review. My goal concerning this blog in general and this review in particular is show biblical truths to you, the reader. That being the case, I want to write about what this film got right and close to right (i.e., portraying events which while not technically described in the Bible could still be within the realm of biblical possibility). I also want to write about what this film got wrong from a biblical standpoint (that is, what it portrayed which blatantly contradicts clear biblical truths.)
There’s a reason I want to do this. With the exception of the film The Gospel of John (whose goal was to basically show on camera the entire gospel of John, verse by verse), I have yet to see any biblically-based film which remained 100% true to the Bible. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this in most cases, per se, because the Bible does not go into great descriptive detail about many of the events it describes. Therefore, if you are going to make a film based on biblical events you will by necessity have to take some degree of “artistic license.”
Take the biblical account of Noah, for example, as laid out in Genesis 6-9. Read those chapters and you will see that there is no record of Noah himself or anyone else (other than God) saying one word to anyone about anything until chapter 9, after he has already built the ark, survived the flood, and put his feet back on dry land. A film about Noah which remained 100% true to the Bible in terms of dialogue would be, for all practical purposes, a silent film.
So I have no problem with a screenplay writer imagining conversations Noah would have with his family about building the ark, or imagining a scene in which they cared for the animals inside the ark while the flood was going on and talked about how they would do so. Likewise, I don’t have a problem seeing Val Kilmer’s Moses in The Prince of Egypt having conversations with Miriam about Pharaoh refusing to let the Israelites go, or the scene in Jesus of Nazareth which portrayed the death of Joseph with Mary at his side before Jesus began his ministry in which a dying Joseph talks proudly of the great things Jesus will do. Scenes like that are not in the Bible, true, but they do fall within the realm of biblical possibility. In other words, one could say that the events in those scenes COULD HAVE happened without contradicting in any way the actual biblical account.
Unfortunately, Noah strays so far from the Genesis account of the titular character and the biblical accounts and teachings of other characters and events which are portrayed in the film that I was hard-pressed to find any scene which was true to the Bible in any way, much less find a scene whose “artistic license” fell within the realm of biblical possibility. There were a few, but they were FEW. Few and far between. Unfortunately, I will show you that the overwhelming majority of Noah not only was imagined in the mind of man, but imagined and portrayed in such a way that blatantly and repeatedly contradicts what the Bible says actually happened and also puts our holy God and his righteous servants in a bad light.
And that’s why I’m writing this review and biblical critique of Noah…so that the truth of God’s Word will be known. The New Testament warns of false teachers, and also warns of how they will work: “…by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Rom. 16:18). People tend to watch films of historical events and walk away thinking that what they saw on the screen was how it went down…when the historical evidence recorded in historical documents reveal a completely different story. Most people don’t know this, however, because most are very unfamiliar with actual history and also because what was portrayed on film was done so in a very believable and attention-getting way. Such is the power of film. In like manner, people tend to watch films of biblical events and walk away thinking that what they saw on the screen is how it happened, even if it is not. They do this for the same reasons people believe Hollywood over actual history: they are unfamiliar with what the Bible actually says, and they are “wowed” by the great acting, cool special effects, and the drama portrayed on the screen. The “smooth talk and flattery” of film “deceives the hearts of the naive.”
People who are unfamiliar with the Bible will probably walk away from Noah thinking that God is very distant and uncaring, and that his righteous chosen servants are in fact not so righteous, but rather homicidal and genocidal. They will also walk away having an even more warped and unbiblical view of angels than they had before, which is saying something because there’s already a lot of mistaken and extra-biblical notions about angels out there.
The truth must be known, so let’s open our Bibles and get right down to it…
1. The movie starts off by saying, “In the beginning there was nothing.” To be fair, towards the end of the movie Noah is inside the ark during the flood telling the creation account to his family and he elaborates on that statement a bit more by then talking about “the Creator” and how he created the world. (More on that in a bit…)
Here’s the truth. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Not, “In the beginning there was nothing.” Saying that there was nothing in the beginning implies that God was not in the beginning either, and thus implies that God is not eternal when the Bible says that he is (1 Tim. 6:16; Deut. 33:27; Rom. 16:26). In so doing the film contradicts itself when Noah later repeats, “In the beginning there was nothing,” and then immediately starts talking about the Creator and how he made the world. If there was nothing in the beginning, then the Creator wasn’t there either. So where did he come from, if he is not eternal? Who created the Creator? Perhaps planting the seed of questions like that is what the director, a known atheist, had in mind.
2. God is never mentioned in the film. Instead, reference is continually made to “the Creator.” I wish that was all there was to it, because if it were, I wouldn’t have a problem with it in and of itself. After all, the name of God isn’t mentioned once in the biblical book of Esther, and yet his presence is continually felt in a very positive way as Esther shows his providence at work protecting his people. Yet, as you will see, Noah really puts “the Creator” in a bad light in various ways, so much so that a small part of me is actually GLAD that the name of God is not mentioned in the film. However, I also know that only people who have lived by themselves on a desert island all their lives will see this film and not associate “the Creator” with the God of the Bible. That is unfortunate, for reasons stated below.
3. The film portrays Cain killing Abel, which is biblically correct (Gen. 4:9), although no mention is made of God accepting Abel’s sacrifice and rejecting Cain’s (Gen. 4:1-7). That’s okay, since the purpose of the film at that point is to give a quick backstory in flashback form. However, the film then immediately gets off the biblical rails in a major way when it says that Cain was sheltered by fallen angels. Yep, fallen angels protect Cain.
Here’s everything the Bible says about Cain (Gen. 4:1-17, 22, 24-25; Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11). Read it. See anything about Cain being protected by fallen angels? I sure don’t.
True, God did put a mark on Cain in order to protect him from being killed in retaliation for Abel’s murder (Gen. 4:14-15). However, nothing is said about what this mark is, or what it does. Does this mark mean that angels would protect Cain somehow? Without further biblical data, one cannot say so with certainty. However, people tend to take things about which the Bible does not give the specifics, assign specifics to them, and then talk of those specifics as if they were fact. That’s how the whole notion of “guardian angels” came into being. The Bible doesn’t say a thing about guardian angels; it only says that angels serve Christians in some unknown way(s) (Heb. 1:14), and that children have angels who see the face of the Father in heaven (Matt. 18:10). Do these verses leave open the possibility of angels guarding Christians and children? Sure, but they don’t specifically say that angels do such things. In like manner, does God’s mark on Cain leave open the possibility that angels somehow protected him? Sure, but the Bible doesn’t say that such is actually what happened. If we are to “speak the truth,” we shouldn’t either (Eph. 4:15).
But here’s another question. Let’s say hypothetically that God marking Cain meant that he assigned angels to protect Cain. Would he assign FALLEN angels to protect Cain? Angels that DISOBEYED him? That goes beyond the realm of biblical possibility in a big way.
4. Let’s talk more about these fallen angels in Noah. The film describes them as the “Nephilim” mentioned in the Bible, and also calls them “the Watchers.” One of them gives to Noah their origin story, which goes as follows. They were created on the second day. Because they tried to help Adam and Eve in some way, the Creator (God) punishes them by making them fallen angels and turning them into rock-like creatures who move in ways very similar to the tree-like Ents in The Lord of the Rings series. That begs the question of why God did this. Did these angels help Adam and Eve before they sinned? If so, why in the world would God punish them? Did they try to help Adam and Eve after they sinned? If so, their punishment would be understandable…but even so, the only biblical account of any angelic activity surrounding the events of Adam and Eve’s fall certainly does not lend to the notion that angels helped them in any way (Gen. 3:22-24).
Back to the film. Over the years, these fallen Watchers made out of rock protected Cain’s descendants, but then the evil descendants of Cain turned on them and killed most of them. Methusaleh rescued the few survivors of the Nephilim by performing a miracle in which he wiped out their pursuers by using a sword that made fire sweep out and consume them. They apparently were banished or exiled themselves to this wasteland which had clear boundaries which Cain’s descendants were afraid to cross. However, at one point in the film Cain’s descendants do so anyway because they are in pursuit of Noah and his family. That’s when the Nephilim appear, wipe out Noah’s pursuers, take Noah and his family prisoner, and debate amongst themselves whether to let them go, or kill them or leave them to rot as punishment for mankind falling away from God.
One of them takes pity on Noah and his family because he somehow sees some good in Noah, lets them go, and becomes their traveling companion and guardian. Later, the other Nephilim will catch up to them and start to punish this particular Watcher because of his kindness, but a miracle – supposedly from the Creator (although it’s never specifically assigned to him) – convinces them to lay off their fellow Watcher and actually decide to help Noah build the ark. In fact, the film will give the impression that the Nephilim are the ones primarily responsible for building the ark as they are the ones seen doing most of the heavy lifting, etc.
Later, as the rain starts to come down and the evil hordes of Cain’s descendants descend upon the ark to try to overtake it and kill Noah’s family, the Nephilim fight off the bad guys and each of them are killed in the process. When the first one dies, the light in the center of his rocky body (also seen in the rocky holes in his face which are his eyes) is released from his body and is revealed to be his soul, a luminous being which is immediately drawn back up into heaven. Other Watchers, seeing this, conclude that “the Creator” has forgiven them and has taken them back, apparently to no longer be fallen angels anymore. As each of them subsequently die, the lights within them which are apparently their angelic souls are released and fly back up into heaven.
Okay. Where to begin…?
The Nephilim are mentioned in the Bible, in the context of the Genesis account of the flood (Gen. 6:4). They are also mentioned to exist centuries after the flood during the time of Moses (Num. 13:33). Nephilim is a Hebrew word meaning “giants,” which is how some English translations depict the word in Genesis and Numbers. They are described as “mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Gen. 6:4), and later during Moses’ time are said to both be and produce “the sons of Anak,” whose large size made the Israelite spies think of themselves as “grasshoppers” (Num. 13:33).
Notice that both of these verses describe these giants as MEN, not ANGELS (fallen or otherwise), and definitely not creatures made out of rock. They are giants, true, and the film at least got that part right in that the rocky Watchers are huge. (Even so, a study of the description of the giant Goliath’s size as described in 1 Samuel 17:4 leads me to believe that the giant men of the Bible were not RIDICULOUSLY huge in size, like the giant of Jack and the Beanstalk or like these rocky creatures in the film, but rather were men of unusually large stature like we see today…say 9-12 feet tall, for example.)
Throughout Christendom, there is a common misconception of the Nephilim read about in Genesis 6:4, namely that they were the offspring of sexual unions between angels and men, which is itself an erroneous interpretation of the marriage of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man” described in Genesis 6:1-4. A lot of people understandably think that the term “sons of God” refers to angels in this text, as it does elsewhere (Job 38:7). However, “sons of God” at other times in the Bible refers to righteous human beings (Gal. 3:26). Considering that Jesus said that angels do not marry (Matt. 22:30), and that the Genesis text says that “the sons of God” did in fact marry “the daughters of men,” the only conclusion in keeping with the entirety of the Bible is that Genesis is describing righteous men marrying women.
A study of the previous chapters in Genesis (chapters 4-5) reveal that the descendants of Cain and the descendants of Seth are being described and compared, with Cain’s descendants becoming more evil while also more technologically inventive and Seth’s descendants becoming more righteous. The film actually alludes to this several times in a clear and good way. (More on that below.) With that in mind, “the sons of God” (i.e., the righteous descendants of Seth) married “the daughters of men” (i.e., the unrighteous descendants of Cain) in Genesis 6:1-4. What was the result? Evil spreading more rampantly on the earth (Gen. 6:5; cf. 1 Cor. 15:33), which was the reason God decided to destroy mankind with the flood (Gen. 6:6-7).
Yet, as mentioned earlier, a lot of people in the religious world think that the Nephilim are giant offspring of the mating of angels and humans. When I first heard the term Nephilim in the film and saw them described as fallen angels, that’s where I thought the film was going. However, the film never did call them the result of sexual unions between angels and men, nor did the film allude to such things happening at all. Instead, the film said that they were angels created on the second day who became fallen angels, rock creatures due to being punished for wanting to help man. Here’s the biblical truth, though. The Nephilim in the Bible are giant human beings said to exist both during the time of the flood and centuries later during the time of Moses. That’s it.
As for the film’s allusion that these angels were created on the second day, the Bible nowhere mentions that angels were created on the second day (Gen. 1:6-8). True, a case could be made that it is implied that angels were created at some point during creation week, at least by day 4 (Job 38:7; cf. Gen. 1:14-19, 31)…but nowhere does it specifically state that they were created on day 2.
As for the film’s notion that the Creator (God) actually PUNISHES these angels for wanting to help man by turning them into rock creatures destined to roam the earth for centuries, here’s what the Bible says. Angels are actually assigned by God to SERVE those men and women who inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). The Bible also says that angels who sinned against God did so by “not stay(ing) within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling” (Jude 6), with nothing mentioned about sinning by helping man.
Noah says the punishment actually given to these sinful angels was to…turn them into rock creatures who roam the earth? The Bible says the punishment God gave to angels who sinned was to “cast them into hell [literally in the Greek, “prison”] and commit them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4; cf. Jude 6), at which time they will be cast into hell for all eternity along with Satan (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
And then it gets really confusing in the last scene with the Nephilim, in which they are being killed while HELPING MAN (specifically, Noah and his family) and are then REWARDED by the Creator who takes them back into heaven. Let me work this out in my mind. The Creator initially punishes these Watchers specifically for helping man…and then takes away their punishment because they died doing the exact same thing?? It seems like the Creator (God) doesn’t know what in the world he wants…which might be exactly what the makers of the film are wanting to convey. But here’s what the Bible says: “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33).
5. Let’s talk about some positives about the film, the few things the film got biblically right or close to right, before moving back to the myriad of errors:
- As mentioned earlier, the film alludes both vaguely and specifically at various times to the fact that Cain’s descendants grew more and more evil while also becoming technologically proficient, while Seth’s descendants were righteous. A study of Gen. 4:16-5:32 reveals this to be the case. The film shows at its beginning that the descendants of Cain were at war with the descendants of Seth. This certainly could have been the case, considering the biblical implications of each family’s righteousness and wickedness (cf. John 3:20). However, the Bible also teaches that the descendants of Seth and Cain started to intermarry at this time (Gen. 6:1-2), something which is also vaguely alluded to in the film but also would seem to contradict the notion that the two families were warring. That said, the film also implies that by the time Noah was grown the line of Seth had all but become extinct. Perhaps this is due partly to war and partly to intermarriage, although neither is specifically stated in the film.
- Enoch is correctly said to be Noah’s great-grandfather, Methuseleh Noah’s grandfather, and Lamech his father (Gen. 5:21-32).
- Concerning Methuseleh, he is correctly depicted to look extremely aged at the time of the flood, although there is no mention in the film of his biblical age at the time he died. A study of the biblical chronology certain leaves open the possibility that the flood killed him, as is depicted in the movie (Gen. 5:27-32; 7:6). However, the movie depicted him as a good man. That being the case, the Bible teaches he would have been inside the ark when the flood came rather than outside of it, because the Bible teaches that only the righteous were inside the ark (Gen. 7:1; 2 Pet. 2:5).
- Tubal-Cain, the villain of the film, is an actual character in the Bible. As mentioned in the film, he is a descendant of Cain, and is said to be “the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron” (Gen. 4:22). If I remember correctly, there is a brief scene in which we see Tubal-Cain actually beating out metal on an anvil. The Genesis chronology certainly leaves open the possibility that Noah and Tubal-Cain were contemporaries, although nothing is said of them actually knowing each other, Tubal-Cain being alive when the flood began, or trying to overthrow the ark, as is the case in the movie.
- In the film, the wife of Noah is named Naamah. In the Bible, Noah’s wife is not specifically named, but there was a woman named Naamah who was Tubal-Cain’s sister and thus a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:22). I do not remember anything in the film which states or implies that Noah’s wife was also Tubal-Cain’s sister. (That would have actually been a neat little twist if they had made it that way.) What the Bible does leave open as a possibility is that Noah’s wife might very well have been a descendant of Cain’s, considering that it was at this time that “the sons of God” (Seth’s righteous lineage) intermarried with “the daughters of men” (Cain’s unrighteous descendants) in Genesis 4:1-2.
- Tubal-Cain kills Lamech in front of a young Noah at the beginning of the film. Both of these characters are shown in the Bible to exist and be likely contemporaries, although no mention is made of them knowing each other or Tubal-Cain killing Lamech. In fact, the Bible says that Lamech lived 595 years after he fathered Noah and had other sons and daughters (Gen. 5:30), whereas in the film he dies while Noah is probably 11 or so. (Compared to the other things the film gets wrong, this is definitely a minor error.)
- Noah and his family are vegetarians in the film, while all the villains in the film are meat-eaters. In the Bible, God originally made all of humanity vegetarian, as well as the animals (Gen. 1:29-30). This would not change until after the flood ended (Gen. 9:3). See my recent article for more information about this. In the film, Noah looks down on meat eaters and says that they think eating meat gives them strength whereas they ought to be looking to the Creator as the source of that strength. Later, Tubal-Cain will tell Noah’s son Ham that man was created in God’s image to rule over the world and in some vague way correlates that with eating meat. While I applaud Noah for saying that one should look to the Creator (God) for strength rather than looking to meat and Tubal-Cain for biblically pointing out that man was created to rule over the world (Gen. 1:28), the Bible does not correlate the eating of meat and/or vegetables with either of those concepts.
- The film did not give us very specific close-ups of the specs of the ark, but from what I could so from the panning shots it seemed that they followed the specifications the God of the Bible gave to Noah (Gen. 6:14-16). I counted three decks. The size of the ark certainly seemed like it would go along with the length of 300 cubits, bread of 50, and height of 30. I saw one door on the side of the ark, various rooms within it, and the film showed Noah’s sons (and the Nephilim, sigh) covering it with pitch during its construction. No mention was made of gopher wood. It seemed to take 10 years to build in the film rather than the 120 implied in the Bible (Gen. 6:3).
- In the film, the Creator (God) seems to miraculously bring all the animals on the planet to the ark, starting with birds, then reptiles, and ending with mammals. The Bible has God assigning Noah the task of bring pairs of every kind of animal, both male and female (Gen. 6:19-20), and the case could be made from the wording of verse 20 that God had a hand in bringing them to Noah. While at first no pairings of male and females seem to be taking place with the animals, Ham later talks of how there are pairs of male and female of each kind of them on the ark. No mention in the film is made of seven pairs of clean animals and birds (Gen. 7:2-3). In the film, the animals were put into some sort of hibernation state through some sort of miraculous smoke or incense waved around them by Noah’s family. The Bible doesn’t talk of any of this, although in my opinion it leaves open the possibility that somehow God put the animals on the ark in some sort of hibernation during the duration of the flood. Also, I didn’t see any dinosaurs around, either on the ark or outside of it. This is probably due to the film’s implications of theistic evolution (more on that later). Nonetheless, a biblical description of animals which fits the description of dinosaurs found in the book of Job, which took place after the flood, makes the case that dinosaurs were on the ark and survived the flood (Job 40:15-24; 41:1-8).
- Noah is called a preacher of righteousness in the Bible (2 Pet. 2:5). We do not know if this was before or after the flood. If it was before the flood, the film VERY VAGUELY alludes to this when Noah condemns the evil of Tubal-Cain and his peers, although it seems that this Noah is more interested in condemning the ENVIRONMENTAL evils of his peers than any other kind of sins. (More on this below…) Unfortunately, any notions of righteousness in this Noah are completely offset by his misguided, homicidal notion which are given much more preference in the film (again, more on this below…).
- The Bible describes the wickedness of Noah’s contemporaries in this fashion: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…And God saw the earth, and behold, it was very corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth…for the earth is filled with violence…” (Gen. 6:5, 12, 13b). The film does an average job of portraying the wickedness of man before the flood. A lot of emphasis is placed on environmental damage done due to man’s wickedness, which I believe is due to the goal of the film’s producers and directors to make a pro-environmental theme to the film. Other types of wickedness are briefly alluded to in the film comparatively. An animal is torn apart by a mob at one point. Women are seen to be kidnapped and traded. One young girl in particular is seen to be left in a trench filled with dead bodies. Men from Cain’s family tree repeatedly try to kill Noah and his family throughout the film. Noah himself alludes to the sinfulness of man a lot, although about halfway through the film he does so in a Calvinistic, “total depravity of man” mindset which, unfortunately, leads him to have the unrighteous, misguided notion that it is the Creator’s will that he kill his family even after they survive the flood. (More on that below…)
- The actual flood sequence looked pretty good and seemed to be mostly biblically accurate. It started to rain, and it seemed pretty clear that a worldwide flood wasn’t going to happen simply from the rain, heavy though it was in the film. But then water burst out of the ground in huge, violent geysers, huge tsunamis came in wiping people out, the water rose and was shown to rise as high and then higher than the highest mountains, and there was even a shot from space in which the entire planet was shown to be covered in rain clouds and hurricanes. There is no indication of this being a “localized” flood, but rather a global one. A character in the film talks of the waters in the heavens meeting the waters of the earth, or in the earth. All of this is in complete accordance with what is stated and implied in the biblical account (Gen. 7:11, 17-24). The only possible departure from the biblical text in this regard is that the flood seemed to end and the waters recede a lot sooner than is indicated in the Bible (Gen. 7:12, 17, 24; 8:3-6, 10-12, 13).
- After the flood, Noah is shown to pick grapes, drink the wine from them, get drunk and pass out naked, and be covered by Shem and Japheth who look away from his nakedness, while Ham initially discovers him and does not avert his eyes. This itself is in keeping with the biblical text (Gen. 9:20-23). However, the circumstances surrounding it in the film are different from the Bible. In the film, Noah has exiled himself in a cave due to his wrongful actions on the ark rather than “be a man of the soil (who) planted a vineyard” who got drunk and lay uncovered “in his tent” (Gen. 9:20). The Ham of the film never told his two brothers outside of the tent about what he saw; rather, Shem and Japheth arrive shortly after Ham and they all observe Noah together, with the two brothers simply reacting differently than Ham. In the Bible, Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan after awakening and learning what Ham had done to him, and blesses the offspring of Shem and Japheth (Gen. 9:24-27). In the film, however, Noah gives no such curse or blessing to anyone, and instead talks of a vague regret that Ham had seen him in that way. Compared to the largely greater and more numerous errors in the film, this is minor in my opinion.
- The rainbow is shown at the very end of the film as emanating from the sun in an admittedly spectacular fashion. It is implied that this is due to the actions of a silent Creator who vaguely is giving his blessing to Noah who had just quoted Genesis 9:1, 7, something which God actually said. No mention is made of the rainbow being a sign from the Creator that he would never again bring a flood to wipe out humanity, as is the case in the Bible (Gen. 9:8-17).
6. Now back to the major problems in the film, starting with the fact that the film’s makers want to promote a pro-environmental film over a pro-biblical film. Noah (and by implication the Creator) is shown as being very pro-environmental to the extreme. He rebukes his son for simply picking a flower for its beauty, and the Creator a minute later miraculously causes the flower to reappear in full bloom as his first “communication” with Noah. Noah and his family live in a wasteland that is implied to be the result of the evil of mankind as a whole, specifically their irresponsibility to environmental awareness. The only exceptions are the green mountain upon which the good Methuseleh lives (implying that good people are “green”), and later when the Creator miraculously turns the wasteland where Noah lives into a forest of greenery both as a way to provide wood for the construction of the ark and also as an implied pro-environmental message. When Noah talks of the Creator punishing mankind with the flood for their evil, the message seems to be that men are being punished because of what they did to the environment rather than for their sin per se.
The biggest travesty this pro-environmental theme has brought to the biblical accuracy of the film is found in how the film’s Noah somehow comes to the conclusion that, even though he and his family are safe on the ark and all of evil mankind outside are drowned, the Creator wants him to lead his family to kill each other once the flood is over so that mankind will be completely extinct. In this way the planet will be saved, he says. This leads Noah to both say and do things which completely contradict his biblical description of righteousness and blamelessness (Gen. 6:9). In fact, this Noah goes so far away from the path of righteousness for no apparent, logical, and sensible reason that I observed people get up and leave the theater on two separate occasions while this was occurring in the film.
While being environmentally responsible is a noble goal, the film attributes to it an extreme mindset that, for the sake of promoting that message, will completely change in a negative fashion the biblical message of Noah in the minds of many viewers, especially the ones who are not familiar with the actual biblical account. This is extremely unfortunate.
7. The Bible clearly says that eight people were in the ark: Noah, his wife, and his three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) and their wives (Gen. 7:7). However, in the film none of his sons are married by the time the flood comes and only one of them, the oldest Shem who appears to be his twenties, is romantically involved. He is romantically involved with Ila, a girl barely in her teens who, a decade earlier, was adopted by Noah when he and his family came across her as an abandoned orphan who was seriously wounded in her abdomen. This wound made her barren, which caused her as a teenager to initially resist Shem’s sexual advances (that’s right, two of the people in the “righteous” camp of the film have no problem making out lasciviously; see Gal. 5:19-21). Her barrenness posed a question for much of the film. If the only two women on the ark are her and Noah’s wife, and she is barren, then how will the family reproduce and repopulate?Incest seems to be the only solution I as an audience member could come up with in my head, until a visit to the aged and wise Methuseleh changes that (thankfully so, although I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film had actually proposed incest as a solution). Noah’s Methuseleh appears to have miraculous powers; he wiped out an army with a fiery sword as a young man, and later he put a young boy to sleep simply by touching his forehead (none of this is attributed to him in the Bible.) When Ila visits him, he touches her abdomen and she suddenly is no longer barren and somehow recognizes it. What is her reaction? She literally runs into the arms of Shem and initiates fornication with him. All of this happens right before it starts to rain. That’s right. Two of the supposedly righteous souls God saves upon the ark are committing the same sexual sins the rest of evil man is committing, right before the flood. Thankfully, no nudity was shown and fornication was implied rather than shown in explicit detail. Still, not the best message given when it comes to biblical morality. I wonder how many biblically illiterate viewers will walk away from the film thinking that God has no problem with sexual immorality since two of the righteous people, people to whom the film ascribes more heroism than Noah himself, are sleeping together outside of marriage?
8. As a result of their pre-deluge fornication, Shem and Ila find out that she’s pregnant while on the ark. Good news as far as repopulating the human race, right? Unfortunately, no. In his efforts to achieve the pro-environmental goals the Creator has somehow assigned him, the film’s Noah has decided that he and his family must die at all costs. So he is prepared to do whatever it takes to that end, including murdering Ila’s offspring should they be female.
This turns his entire family against him. His wife denounces him. Shem and Ila actually build a raft and are going to leave the ark and set out on their own, until Noah literally sinks that idea by setting the raft on fire. Shem threatens to kill him and actually tries to do so. Ham, jealous because Shem is in a relationship and he is not and upset already because Noah had earlier not tried to save another orphaned girl so he could also have a mate and had let her die, decides to side with Tubal-Cain (who had somehow stowed away upon the ark and remain hidden from Noah and his family all that time…yes, you read that correctly) and join him in his efforts to kill Noah.
While discussing Noah’s homicidal tendencies with Tubal-Cain, Ham attributes them to the Creator (God.) I think that needs no further elaboration or commentary.
Because of his disgust over Noah, Ham actually gives killing his father serious consideration in the final climactic battle between Noah and Tubal-Cain, only to kill Tubal-Cain instead. As the fight takes place, the ark crashes onto a mountain due to the waters residing, presumably the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4).
While that is going on, Ila gives birth to twin girls with the help of Noah’s wife. Instead of this being a joyous occasion, it’s a scene of terror and sorrow for all involved out of fear for the family patriarch and supposed hero of the film, Noah. Earlier, Shem stood guard with a weapon to keep Noah from trying to kill her. Exactly how you always pictured the family dynamic on the ark, wasn’t it? Anyway, Noah hears about the birth, having just survived a fight in which Tubal-Cain and Shem try to kill him and Ham thinks about killing him only to then decide to save him by killing Tubal-Cain. Does all of this cause Noah to have a change of heart? Nope. He goes after Ila and the newborn twins in her arms with a knife. Ila begs him to at least let her calm the crying twins before he kills them. He lets her, and she sings them a lullaby which he had sung to her years earlier and his father, Lamech, had sung to him. This somehow causes Noah to change his mind and not kill the twins. He later attributes this decision to love. Yes, love.
9. After all of this is done and they are safely back on dry land, Noah tells Ila not only that he decided not to murder her daughters because he suddenly loved them, but also that he decided to ostracize himself from the rest of his family because he failed the Creator, thus implying to the audience that his homicidal actions were the will of God. In fact, he had actually looked up at the sky and says, “I can’t do it,” while walking away from the twins. Ila is the one who tells him that the Creator must have given Noah the choice to kill or be merciful, and that Noah chose love. She thus encourages Noah to be a father and grandfather, and help them start again. Noah agrees, and goes to his wife where they reconcile.
How would Noah know for sure that it was the Creator’s will for him to kill those babies? How would Ila know for sure that what actually happened was that the Creator gave Noah a choice and Noah made the right choice? In fact, how would Noah even know in the first place that the Creator was telling him about the upcoming flood, or that he needed to build an ark, or that animals would come, etc.?
I ask only because “the Creator” (God) IS SILENT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FILM!! He never says a word. Ever.
Noah has a dream about a flood, and somehow attributes that to a message from the Creator. He later apparently gets high from a hallucinogen slipped to him by Methuseleh and has a vision about the ark and the animals being saved, and somehow attributes that to a message from the Creator. So from this he knows exactly how big to build the ark, that the animals will come, and what to do with them once they get there.
But then he decides somehow, without a vision or anything like that (certainly not ANY VERBAL COMMUNICATION), that the Creator wants him to kill himself and his entire family! And then after he decides that he can’t obey the Creator in that (after almost doing so), his adopted daughter (daughter-in-law? Did her and Shem ever actually get married? I didn’t see it…) somehow knows that in reality all of this was a test from the Creator, and Noah passed. How did she know that, without ANY ACTUAL VERBAL COMMUNICATION from said Creator?
Compare that with the actual biblical account in which God ACTUALLY TALKS to Noah and tells him exactly what to do and Noah does it and there are no apparent misunderstandings of any kind… (Gen. 6:13-22; 7:1-5; 9:1ff).
This is the problem so many in the religious world have, right here. They have an actual message from God, the Bible, God’s Word, given to them in which it is shown in black and white exactly what God’s will is for them.
And so many are completely ignorant of it. They hardly read it, if they do at all. Instead, they go by feelings. They say that the Holy Spirit somehow guides them through intuitions, feelings, visions, etc., all the while ignoring the fact that the Bible is the actual message from the Holy Spirit and they need to be reading that!!
Read Proverbs 14:12, Jeremiah 10:23, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 2:1-4, and 2 Peter 2:19-21 to see what I’m talking about.
This is what Noah is promoting. Religion based on feelings and theories rather than on actual, real, communicated will from God. And that’s probably the biggest disappointment of all…
Well, I could go on. I could tell you about how Noah fought off marauders OUTSIDE OF THE ARK even while A TIDAL WAVE WAS SUBMERGING IT. I could talk about the mystical cloth of Lamech and the miraculous powers it somehow conveyed to various people throughout the film in a vague way. I could talk about how it promoted theistic macro-evolution, a theory disproved by science and completely unscriptural. I could talk about how Adam and Eve were portrayed as luminous beings somehow, and that the forbidden fruit had a heartbeat. There’s probably more even beyond that which I could talk about…
But the above should be enough. More than enough.
It took me six hours to write all of this. That’s how much error there is in Noah. I’m tired. I think that’s it for now.
It’s up to you as to whether you want to see it. If you choose to go even after reading all of this, I could see that as a case of wanting to see all of this for yourself rather than take my word for it. I can’t blame you for that. The only thing I ask is that you go home afterwards and read your Bible to get the truth of the matter.
If you choose not to see the film, well, I can’t say that I blame you for that, either. I wish I hadn’t.
Either way, let me leave you with a challenge. A plea.
Please study your Bibles more. Please come to know the Scriptures better. That is what will keep you on the right path when Satan throws darts of deceit like the film Noah to try to get you to stumble.
Psalm 1:1-3. Read it. Practice it. Obey it. Live it.
Thanks for reading.
11 thoughts on “A Biblical Movie Review: Noah”
It’s a crying shame how Hollywood can ruin a wonderful story as Noah but then again what else could you expect coming out of Hollywood these days. Thanks, Jon for a thorough review on this movie. Sorry you had to waste your time on such a tragic movie but I guess that’s the cost of having to do research in order to expose the terrible way Hollywood portrays a wonderful story that’s in the Bible. Ken B.
Thanks for reading, Ken.
Thank you for taking the time and making the concerted effort to write this VERY THOROUGH review – I appreciate all the detail and the PLEA for all to read and study the scripture for themselves. I had wanted to see it and make my own judgements about it, but now I know I don’t need to waste my time or my money – and I have something very concrete to share with others as warning. Again, thank you, brother!
Thanks for reading it and sharing it, and thanks for your kind words of encouragement!
[…] flood that its claim to even be “inspired” by the Genesis record is laughable. (See my review for an account of most of the errors shown in this film.) Because of the thousands who are […]
Printing your article out made me run out of ink brother. I really appreciate your thoroughness. It will come in use!
LOL. I have been known to be “of many words” both in and out of the pulpit, Robert. I guess this article proves it! 🙂
I haven’t watched a movie in a theater in years and I am glad I didn’t rush to the theater to see this one. I had hopes that it would be a film that glorified God and was true to His Word. What was I thinking? Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to review “Noah.” I will NOT be enriching or supporting the directors, producers, actors.
I also enjoy the articles you write for the Carolina Messenger. You have a special talent for making clear, concise arguments but doing so in a loving way.
Keep standing for the truth and sharing God’s Word!
Cindy Brown (former NCSBS administrative assistant)
Thanks, Cindy. I appreciate your kind words.
Reblogged this on Preacher Of Truth and commented:
Since the film Noah is about to come out on video, I thought it was a good time to re-post my earlier review of the film. It’s long because there are so many biblical errors in the film, but it’s worth reading if you’re going to see the movie and want to know what the Bible says about it. Hope it’s helpful for you in your Bible studies about Noah.
Thank you for writing this. I knew something was wrong when at the beginning, thwy mentioned Cain being cared for by fallen angels. We immediately stopped the movie and began looking for biblical reviews. After reading the first few paragraphs, I made thw decision to not watch this movie and my boyfriend who was with me was in full agreement. Thanks for being a vessel of the Wors and letting God have His divine way with you to help us.