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This is an incredible film that dares to explore and question the Christian faith without restraints of any kind. Martin Luther would be proud. The bottom line is: God cares about you and will stand on her head to prove it.
-Review by David Bruce
DOGMA
(1999)
This page was last updated on June 27, 2005
WATCH THE REAL PLAYER TRAILER
Bartleby - Ben Affleck
Cardinal Glick - George Carlin
Loki - Matt Damon
Bethany - Linda Fiorentino
Serendipity - Salma Hayek
Azrael - Jason Lee
Jay - Jason Mewes
Metatron - Alan Rickman
Rufus - Chris Rock
John Doe Jersey - Bud Cort
Woman-God - Alanis Morissette
Silent Bob - Kevin Smith
Gun Salesman - Jeff Anderson
Reporter - Brian Christopher O’Halloran
Clinic Girl - Janeane Garofalo
Nun - Betty Aberlin
Priest at St. Stephens - Dan Etheridge
Bus Station Attendant - Guinevere Turner
Stygian Triplets - Barrett Hackney, Jared Pfenningwerth, Kitao Sakurai

Directed by: Kevin Smith
Produced by: Scott Mosier
Line Production: Laura Greenlee
Producton Design by: Robert Holtzman
Production Coordination: Lisa Bradley
Costume design by: Abigail Murray
Edited by: Scott Mosier, Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith

SYNOPSIS.
The latest battle in the eternal war between Good and Evil has come to New Jersey in the late, late 20th Century. In Kevin Smith's comic fantasy, angels, demons, apostles and prophets (of a sort) walk among the cynics and innocents of America and duke it out for the fate of humankind.

In what can only be deemed a comedy parable, two renegade fallen angels attempt to jerry-rig the entire cosmological system -- unless a rag-tag group of humans can stop faith. Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) the heroine of DOGMA, is a woman who feels her prayers haven't been answered when, out of nowhere, a heralding angel appears in her bedroom and declares her the potential savior of humanity. This abrupt meeting sets her off on an extraordinary journey of mystery, comedy and suspense as she is transported to a fantastical world of celestial characters and spirited adventure. Along the way she will meet up with a heaven-sent messenger (Alan Rickman), an apostle with a 2,000 year old beef (Chris Rock), a hotheaded demon (Jason Lee), a heavenly Muse (Salma Hayek) and two unlikely Prophets known as Jay and Silent Bob as they each discover the power of their own individual faith.

Few comedies have at stake the very fate of humankind, but DOGMA is not your usual comedy. It is an imaginative and surreal adult fable bursting with wild ideas, fantastical creations and boisterously funny characters. The film is both Kevin Smith's fantasy about the relationships, conflicts and lifestyles of Celestial Beings - who it turns out are just as caught up in the small indignities and large absurdities of the universe as humans -- and a love letter to the sacred mysteries of life.

A SPOILER REVIEW
HOLLYWOOD JESUS VISUAL REVIEW
Bethany is a back slidden Catholic, She doesn't believe God hears prayers and she works in an abortion clinic. Sound like the kind of person that God would call for a special mission to save the world? Does she qualify to be a messiah? Her name, Bethany, is interesting. It means "house of God." She is the very kind of person God has always called. In the Bible God used Rahab the whore to helped Israel (Josuha 2), and made Mary Magdalene, who had seven demons, a disciple of Jesus (Luke 8:1-2). So, this means God calls you too, no matter who you are, just as you are!

Bethany is also called because she is the distant great grand niece of Jesus. Jesus, as the film notes, never had children. But, he did have half "brothers and sisters" (Mark 3:31, Mark 6:3, John 5:7). Bethany is related to one of these. This fact of Jesus' family does not eliminate the virgin birth of Jesus, as some have accused Dogma of doing.

Why does it take a movie like Dogma to remind us that Jesus was not Lily-white? Rufus, the 13th apostle, makes a case for a black Jesus. Why not? Jesus was certainly not white. Most probably he was an olive brown-skinned middle-eastern 5' 2" Jewish man with black curly hair. Jesus was also related to Moses who married a black African Cushite woman (Num. 12:1). Jesus also spent time in Africa (Matthew 2:13). Jesus is not only identified as a Jew coming out of Africa (Matthew 2:15), he is also linked in his genealogy in Matthew Chapter One to all sorts of people, both Jew and Gentile, whores and prophets, murderers and liars. The point is that Jesus connects with everyone.

Rufus also makes a case for more than 12 apostles. Indeed, there was an inner core of twelve apostles (Luke 6:13). Beyond these there were several other apostles, like Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14), Apollos (1 Cor. 4:6-13), and also Andronicus and Junias (Rom. 16:7). I once counted over 20 apostles mentioned in the Bible. Rufus is the 13th apostle because of his incredible bad luck.

Silent Bob and Jay are the perfect prophets. Consider the prophets in the Hebrew scriptures. There is Hosea, whom God tells to take an adulterous wife, and Amos, who was an uneducated flock keeper. Ordinary dudes like Jay and Bob.

Loki and Bartelby are the two fallen angels trying to get back into heaven. They fit Paul's description of angels that are like humans, "angels unaware."

There is the sh*t monster, a symbol of evil, which reminded me of when God asked the prophet Ezekiel to make cakes cooked over human excrement (Ezekiel 4:9-13).

Combine all these elements with walking on water and you have the perfect symbols for a cosmic spiritual battle.

Dogma is fun to watch. It takes unexpected turns throughout the journey to New Jersey. Lots of interesting things. For example, the golden calf is a dead ringer for Mickey Mouse.
Dogma introduces us to God in human form as a woman! The Bible tells us that "God is not man" (Numbers 23:19) and likewise, God is not a woman. But since humans are created in the "image of God ..both male and female" (Genesis 2:27) God therefore shares both male and female qualities. Jesus tells a story in which he uses a woman to portray God in Luke 15:8-10. And there is the mother hen image in Luke 13:34. Dogma stresses these female aspects of God as the caring healer who takes time to smell the flowers.

Bethany is fatally shot at the end of the movie. God heals the wound and Bethany rises to life again. This makes her a Christ image. Moments later she is found to be miraculously pregnant. This makes her a Virgin Mary image. Is this wild or what?

Dogma ends with God reentering the Catholic church. A nice gesture on Kevin Smith's part.

Oh, by the way, Kevin Smith is right. God does care about humans. And God is very involved in the human condition. God is ever ready to love and care for you. God is only a prayer away.

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2
AND an incredible BULLETIN BOARD
OFFICIAL SITE
DOGMA (c) 1999 LIONS GATE FILMS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

BULLETIN BOARD

SPIRITUAL NON CHRISTIAN LIKES DOGMA & HOLLYWOOD JESUS
Subject: Your site and Dogma
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999
From: Sean

First, I'll introduce myself. I'm 16 and I live in Australia. Technically, I'm not Christian. I was never baptised, I don't own a bible and I can count the number of times I've been to church on one hand. I listen to heavy metal music and dress mostly in black. However, I consider myself to be a very spiritual person. I firmly believe in God and Jesus, while maintaining an open mind on other religions. I'm also quite a movie buff.

I recently visited your site while I was searching for movie reviews. At first, I was a little cautious - I've been to several other Christian / Catholic sites who make a crusade out of abusing popular culture. However, upon reading your reviews, I see that you don't critise pop culture as such, but rather, just put a religious angle on it.

Some of the stuff you say about certain movies has made me think more deeply into what I would normally consider to be fairly shallow movies. I'm also glad that you've kept an open mind when seeing movies that touch religious issues, especially movies like "Dogma" (which, incidentally, I consider to be one of the best movies that I've ever seen).

I want to congratulate you for having an excellent site and an open mind. It's when I see people like you, strong in Christian faith and yet open to popular culture, that I'm proud I maintain my spiritual side the way I do. Keep up the good work!


ABOUT LOSING FAITH

Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999
From: Violet

To prepare for the release of Dogma, I did a little research. I read Dante's Divine Comedy- well, most of it; I'm still sorta slogging through Heaven. I took a whole class on Milton's Paradise Lost. I'd already read the first nine books of Augustine's Confessions; I'd figured, after his mother died it was pretty sad, and anyway the rest of it was just theology, well . . . So I was prepared to see Dogma. I was so clothed in the armor of righteousness that I clanked when I walked, and the armor of righteousness is only a metaphor. And guess what: Dogma is a flawed movie. Dogma is a silly movie. But Dogma is also upholding a long tradition of Christian masterpeices in art. The Hagia Sophia, the Sistine Chapel, Bach, John of the Cross, Gregorian chant, even the Puritan Paradise Lost, all crazy, glorious odes to God. To be sure, Dogma suffers from too much exposition and too many pop-culture references. But it also addresses a part of religion that you never hear about: losing faith. Somehow Linda Fiorentino in a creek screaming "I hate you!" sums up my own spiritual crisis at the age of fifteen as well as does Augustine or Dante.
Based on my experience in the Church, Catholicism is not special because it's got the best doctrine or because the Pope (John Paul II rocks, by the way) has a hotline to God. It's because the rituals and prayers bring us close to God. My mom, who was raised Protestant, said that Catholics view life as a journey; as the love and the greatness of God is never fully realized, there is always more to learn and deeper to go. And Catholics are often the ones who you find really contemplating Gospel or the Passion and Death of Christ. Catholicism is about depth, and there's always farther to fall. But I must admit, the idea of a perky God still scares me.
Thanks,
Violet

PS
I have a couple things I forgot to add. Where is the anal sex in this movie? I don't recall leaving the theater to go to the bathroom or get popcorn or anything, and I can't imagine missing anal sex in a film. Is this some kind of inside joke?
Also, I do movie critiques/reviews for my campus newspaper. I enjoy doing
them and I have to admit, people seem to appreciate them. But I've been hanging around the Hollywood Jesus site for a while and I really prefer the forum-type discussion approach a lot more. Thanks for having this site up. I think it's terrific.
Violet

I MISS THE DOGMA HYPE!
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999
From: Bill T., Dallas

After nearly two weeks without a visit to HollywoodJesus.com, I'm sorely disappointed to see no new Dogma hoopla. Has the hype died?
(Sorry Bill, there was a week and a half delay in posting. I was out of town). I enjoyed the film, as a Kevin Smith-amateurish-juvenile (yet appropriately R-rated)-comic-book-type flick. I agree with most of the comments posted, to some degree: offensive, mildly; sacreligious, mildy; reverent, mildly; thought-provoking, yes; entertaining, YES!! However; I, for one, do not turn to "Hollywood" for my spiritual guidance or Christian education, though I appreciate H-J.com's take on the silver screen. Smith has his values, beliefs, and doubts, as do the rest of us. If he wants to make a movie based loosely on those ideas, and earn a little living, then God bless Kevin Smith and God bless America.

Bill T., Dallas

An open postscript to Mr. van Kappan--I've seen the film, and I do believe your post makes more references to anal sex than the 130 minutes of Dogma. Despite my curiosity, I will refrain from seeking clarification as to the popularity of "Christian porn." I WOULD like to refute the un-hipness of products featuring Jesus with four letters: WWJD?

CONTINUED

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