THOUGHTS ON GREEN MILE
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001
I have enjoyed this thread on The Green Mile a great deal. I have to say, forst of all, that this film gave me a profound sense of spirituality. I love that films like this are made with the sole purpose of portraying an allegory of Christ.
I find it interesting to think about the space in the film. A prision, like in Shawshank, would normally denote isolation and desparity. But as we see, it is filled with the beauty of the human spirit. I find the irony of JC speach, saying that evil exists in the world, "everyday." Coming from inside a prison, there is an interesting thing happening in seeing the world as a kind of prison, full of evil. But as the contrast of spaces shows us, goodness lies in unexpected places. In looking at similar ironys of spaces, it is interesting that race is ostensibly incorporated in the story. For one, JC is black. Why might this be?Though he was found with the dead girls in his hand, I found a southern country town, with hunters and hound dogs tracking down a murderer to be significant. The white southerners, with suspected racial tendencies, are portrayed in the film negativly. Perhaps they "judge" by color, and would never suspect a white "wild Bill" to be capable of the evil he commits. Now, I am not saying this is a intergral part of the storyline, but it is interesting. I would like to see what others had to say about this.
I do have some speciffic questions I was hoping someone could answer. First, the necklace JC is given after he heals the brain tumor, is the figure on it significant? Also, though this may have been explained in the movie, why does Hanks' character live for so long. Is there a biblical connection? E mail: email@example.com
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001
i dont really understand what JC did to Percy at the end. Did JC show him what "wild bill" had done to those two girls? Is that why Percy shot him? If you could please send me something about this i would greatly appreciate it.
Response: It is not real clear in the film. -David
JOHN WATCHING THE MOVIE
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001
The close-up on John's face with the light of the movie projector behind him has to be one of the best cinematic shots in all of hollywood. JC in his last days on earth seems to be feeling the grace of god on his shoulders. The light of god has shone upon him and he seems to know it with the gentle smile that appears on his face as he listen to the song, "Heaven."
THERE'S MUCH FOOD FOR THOUGHT HERE
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001
I realize that by now, comments on this movie may be few and far between. Though I saw in it theaters, I continue to watch it on our DVD, and never fail to sit quietly for a while afterwards, thinking about what I've seen, and what I feel as a result.
I have read through the many comments (and responses thereto), and agree that this is a fine movie, that there is clearly a parallel between John Coffey and Jesus Christ, etc. What moves me most, however, is not only the fineness of the story itself, but the fact that there are people in the world who still care enough to create such stories, and others who produce movies based on such stories. I don't know if Stephen King believes in God (but I surely would love to have a conversation with him on the subject!), but I think he does ... or he is incredibly skilled at understanding those of us who do.
"The Green Mile" awakens in us a need to examine our beliefs, and the way in which we behave during our lives. Most of us fall somewhere between John Coffey and "Wild Bill," on the scale of human nature, and we're contented with ourselves. Sometimes our contentment is not a positive thing, but rather has a lulling affect that keeps us from speaking up when we see a child heading towards trouble, when we know a friend could use a helping hand but we're just too busy ...
If it accomplishes nothing else, the movie give us pause to ask if we couldn't be something more. If we shouldn't be something more.
SUBTLE IN ALL THE RIGHT AREAS
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000
Possibly the most fulfilling element of 'The Green Mile' for me was the way that the writer and director were not pressured into specifically saying that the John Coffey character is the Christ figure. This not only allows the existence of discussions like those seen here but also allows for the viewer to discover it for themselves, destroying the danger of a cliched and uncomfortable ending. This also illiminates the frequent problem, discussed on your site with reference to other films, of 'Christians' attacking studios for having a blasphamous portrayal of Jesus, for, unfortunately the idea of having a uneducated black Christ Figure is too much for some people to cope with.
On the whole I found the film incredibly subtle, especially when showing J.C's scars across his body and on his wrists, a background detail which could have so easily been dwelled upon and, as a result, become over-the-top. Another use of subtly, and politics, is the comparison drawn between the treatment of blacks in America to the treatment of Jews in the Roman Empire.
Thank you Mark
NEVER LOOKED AT IT THAT WAY
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000
Hi all ... I have to admit that during the movie, which I watched for the first time a few days ago, it never occoured to me that there was a connection between JC = John Coffey and JC = Jesus Christ. Maybe I was just too transfixed on the fact that I was seeing images of human beings being executed in an inhuman way (is there a 'human' way to execute another human being ???). So I have to admit that I share the admission with another guy who posted here, that even though I am a Christain, I too missed such a crucial element of the movie, indeed possible the whole point of it. One thing did occour to me though, that the very last words of John Coffey were the song 'Heaven, I'm in Heaven' from the 'Flick Movie' he was allowed to watch as his last request. I have to admit that I didn't read all the reviews and posts on the pages here but I'm surprised that nobody got that bit in the several letters I did read ...that actually did make me think that maybe John Coffey was at least a Christian and that obviously he was an innocent man, condemned to a death so horrifying and brutal, and yet allowing himself to be executed in order to at least passify the parents of the two little girls who were murdered, and obviously possessing supernatural powers made him significant too. It was not until I read these thoughts and reviews that I realised the significance of the movie in Christian terms, and I have to confess that I'd vowed never to watch another Steven King movie or read his books again, concidering him instead to be a sensationalst and also a psycho ...I now feel differently, though cautious, I mean, the guy is a master of surprise ~ right ??? Thanks for reading and Christain love to all ...
<>< Paul ~ Cubby. UK <>< WWJD?
(You may publish my email address if desired)
EQUIPPING OUR YOUTH
Subject: I can't stop talking about it!
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000
From: Jonathan Price
I would first like to comment on the idea that this movie would have an adverse affect on young people. I am a youth pastor, and I am tired of hearing people try to put the blame of youth violence on movies and music. Yes, I do agree that these things (not this movie) do have a motivating factor, but the blame should be put on us as adults. The answer isn't to sit and condemn our culture, but instead we should be equipping young people to be discerning (Christ was not against the culture, he was in the culture). We as adults need to be involved in young people's lives! If they had caring adults in their lives, who helped them process things like movies and music, I believe we would not be having this discussion. How many of you who condemn what our young people do are in a mentoring relationship, or volunteer in your Church's youth ministry? Many of you would say that young people should not see this film. I disagree. Just because a film has an R rating doesn't mean you should not go see it. I believe that many PG-13 rated films are sometimes worse than many R rated films.
Our young people aren't naive. They hear language much worse than what was in the movie, every day. I would go as far as to say that we should encourage young people to go see this movie. What a powerful tool for explaining the gospel! People connect with movies, especially young people. It's one of their favorite hobbies. We need to use this to our advantage (just like Paul did in Athens). If you believe that God is sovereign, then you believe that He can even use an R RATED movie to bring people into a relationship with him. Here is an example. As I was leaving the movie, I was listening to a group of young people discuss what they had just seen. One girl didn't like it (she was still crying minutes after the movie was over). When asked why by her friends, she said: "I don't understand why he had to die." If I had known this girl, it would have been very easy for me to talk to her about a God that loved her so much that he died for her. If that doesn't convince you, start asking non-believers what they thought of the movie, and I bet they will open the door for you to share with them a story that is even better than the one they saw on the screen! Now that I'm off my soap box, I have some of the same questions that B.J. has. Would you please post your response, or write me?
In His Service, Jon Price
-You may post my email address. I would like to dialogue about this subject.
Response: Sorry Jon, but I deleted your email. send it to me again. Thanks
Subject: Review right on the money
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2000
From: Wesley Channell
I am probably the last person in the world to see this movie for the 1st time, but I just saw it last night. I was amazed by the Christocentric implications of the movie, many of which you identified. Luke tells us (6:19) that the power went out of Jesus when he healed people.
Also, you correctly quote Isaiah 53:3 which mentions that Jesus was a man of sickness and acquainted with grief. That text would bear the interpretation that Jesus did this all of his earthly life, much like John C. in the film, not just at his death.
One last thing that I missed in your review was the long reflection of unwanted longevity of life in the last few minutes of the film. The bible speaks to this in Ecclesiastes rather poignantly with concept of futility or emptiness, that "something missing" element of life. As well, it deals with the problems of old age and its unwanted presence in Ecclesiastes 12.
Good job, keep up the good work.
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000
From: "Joe A."
Erik Nelson's comments about Stephen King's work were quite insightful, and in that context, I'd like to call your attention to the 1978 novel (get the "author's cut" version that was put out around 1986), "The Stand", and the 1994 miniseries based on it. For those who haven't seen the miniseries, the Christian symbolism and overtones in it are very, very obvious - more so, in fact, than in the original novel. David, have you ever seen the miniseries or read the book? It'd be yet another great subject for a Hollywood Jesus review.
HANKS = JUDAS
Subject: JUST A THOUGHT
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000
I know that I'm probably way off base here, but I was getting some connection between the Tom Hanks character and Judas. Specifically, He goes to John Coffey and asks him if he wants him to let him go and Coffey basically says "No, do what you have to do." This reminded me a little of Jesus saying to Judas "Friend, do quickly what you must do." I know that people will resist this idea, but I've often wondered what would have happened if Judas had not killed himself. Jesus restored relationship with Peter. Is it so far fetched to think that the same restoration would not have been offered to Judas, had he been alive? Just a thought. Todd
Response: I think Tom Hank's character felt like a Judas, that is for sure. However, he did nothing to betray John Coffey. So I agree and disagree with the Judas connection.
IT TOOK A SECOND VIEWING
Subject: JC's Quote
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000
From: McCarthy Family
Excellent movie! I did not pick up on all of the Christian correlations until my second viewing, but I am glad I came across this site. It makes the movie so much more meaningful when you can realize what is beneath the surface. I am a bit confused with the quote: "He killed them with they love. That's how it is every day, all over the world." I understand how the murderer killed the sisters with their love by telling them to be silent or else he would kill the other sister, but I do not understand what is meant by the last part of the quote, "That's how it is every day, all over the world." Maybe I'm thinking too hard, but I would appreciate it if someone could give me some clarification on this. Thanks!
Subject: I have to agree with the comment by Dorothy...
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000
From: Madelyn Sheaffey
I have to agree with many of the comments made by Dorothy way back in December of '99. I also do not watch many rated R movies anymore, since having children and seeing the movies through their eyes (if they were to see the movie) as well as my own eyes. Try it sometime. The allegory to a frog slowly being boiled without the realization was perfectly clear to me.
Also, what makes you think that Dorothy was not thinking for herself in her comments? It sounds to me as though she stands alone, and is far from being on any "party line". Dorothy complained about the violence in the film, to which you replied that the only violence in the film was the electric chair. Did you miss the shooting of "Wild Bill"? Did you miss the grabbing and sexual taunting of Percy by Wild Bill, the killing of the mouse, the explicitly referenced to rape and bloody murder of 2 little girls? ("Don't make a sound, or I'll kill your sister first"?????) Come on...there was a lot more than that even, but I don't want to have to push rewind and watch the movie again! Maybe, just maybe, you are a little desensitized. At least admit when there IS violence...can it be that you DON'T see it?
Madelyn Sheaffey <<
Response: 'Grabbing', 'taunting', and 'reference to rape' are NOT scenes of 'graphic violence.' Shooting Wild Bill was not high on my list of unnecessary depictions of violence either. I believe you however. For you these were scenes of graphic violence. Therefore, I think you should stay away from R rated films. You are indeed a sensitive soul. Meanwhile, I think I will continue to view such films as this one -with my older children. I wish there were more like it.
WHAT ABOUT THE SWINE STORY?
Subject: John Coffey and Percy Whetmore
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000
It's interesting that so many were troubled by the scene in which John Coffey saved the flies of corruption from the healing of the warden's (or was he the governor) wife. I would agree with the spirit of the argument that Coffey is a Christ figure and not a Jesus figure. What I find puzzling is that nobody else found the connection with the Bible which I remember seeing the first time I watched this scene in the film. Read Matthew 8:28-34 or Mark 5:1-17 or Luke 8:26-37 [all of which tell of Jesus' healing of the Gerasene demoniac(s) and casting the demons into the swine herd].
When Coffey had saved the flies of corruption from the healing of the wife of the warden, he cast them into Percy. Now, I would agree that Percy (while despicable) was still human and NOT a pig. But I still couldn't help but see the parallel. The swine herd that Jesus had cast the demons into ran down the cliff and drowned themselves in the sea. Percy, infested by the flies of corruption, cast himself towards killing Billy the Kid and (from that action) wound up in a mental hospital. It is also important to remember that Jesus cured the "dumb" (dumb in the classical sense of being mute, not stupid) from demons that silenced their victims. Coffey's act rendered Percy mute, thus saving Paul and Brutus and the rest of the guards from being snitched on by Percy.
It is also interesting to note that the reaction that this scene in the movie enkindled in many who watched it is similar to the reaction of the townspeople who witnessed Jesus casting the demons into the herd of swine - "they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood." (Mt. 8:34; Mk 5:17; Lk 8:37). Ironically, many commented that this action of Coffey's was most un-Christlike. Maybe if they try to see the almost obvious parallel with the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac, they may see that Coffey's actions weren't so un-Christlike after all.
Pastor Kevin Scheuller
Emanuel Lutheran Church Brandon, WI
P.S. Great site! You may print my e-mail address.
IN BOOK JC LIKENESS MORE OBVIOUS
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
First of all, for the comment to "Dorothy" the very bottom of the page, I strongly disagree that the electric chair was the only violence in the film. They (graphicly) describe murders, and "Wild Bill" is FAR from non-violent. However, that is not what I am writing this about.
I absolutely loved the film. I of course knew about the Christ portrayal, but I didn't realize that John Coffey's initials were the same as those of Jesus'! I also read the book, and the J.C. likeness was even more obvious. I am a huge fan of Stephen King books, and this one seems a change for him. I liked the (almost) religious writing in it.
But, back to the movie, I didn't especially like Tom Hanks in this. He did a wonderful job of the character, i don't mean that he was bad in it. He just over-used the f- word. The movie would have been just as good if the prison guards didn't have the same tongues as their inmates. The Green Mile just came out on video today, and I have every intention of buying it. As I've said, a wonderful movie.
COMMENT ON THE NOVEL
Subject: Green Mile and Stephen King
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
From: Erik Nelson
The Green Mile movie was excellent - as was the novel by Stephen King. I won't comment on the movie because the comments made have been excellent. I will comment on Stephen King - one of the most misunderstood and underestimated novelists of our time. I will admit - his writing can be crude, vulgar, and sometimes dowright disgusting. That is the nature of much popular literature these days. However, there is a deep spiritual aspect to all his work. More than any popular novelist, his work can be a blessing to those who read him with a heart and mind open to hear the truth of God. King has often been called a Methodist, but I can't look into anyone's heart and know their own convictions.
However, I am amazed at the spiritual insight this man has, not only in movies such as the Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, but also in his horror novels. I would not recommend King to just anyone, but for someone who is looking for a honest man's view of good and evil (one that is highly educated and well read, as well) King can offer something that many other writers cannot. SOmetimes I do wish, however, that he would quit the horror novel writing business and write more novels like Green Mile and Shawshank :)
Subject: Death Row Love?
Date: Mon, 8 May 2000
From: "Mike Furches"
Just saw the movie yesterday in large part due to the reviews and comments on hollywoodjesus.com What I will say is that the movie was thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. Personally I intend on seeing it again to pick up on much more of the symbolism.
I am not a Stephen King fan but have found myself liking and appreciating some of his non horror stories. As a matter of fact I seem to like them much more than the horror. Tales like Shawshank, and others understand and appreciate that at least King thinks about good Vs.. evil and life and death.
While some have been critical of the language in the film I found the film thought provoking and far more beneficial than any negative attributes it may have had. Most children raised in appropriate homes know the difference between language that is acceptable and what is not. In regards to the violence of the film, again, I agree with many of the comments critical of this. Don't give movies more power or credit than they deserve. The reality of it is that there is some violence in The Green Mile, but it is all used to bring the story together and ultimately show the power of love over evil. I believe the actual crucifixion of Jesus and the Bible are far more violent than what was portrayed in this film. I wouldn't prevent my children from reading the Bible nor would I prevent them from seeing the film. I would however, make every effort, as I have, to discuss both with them.
The thread up until this point has been primarily focused on John Coffey and the Christ figure he portrays. I still believe by the way that the first viewing of a film should be for the pleasure of going to a movie. Then if worth it, watch it again to see the skill that went into the making of the movie. While much of the focus is on J.C., I think from initial viewing that the film is much more about Paul and the convictions and changes that he goes through.
There are questions raised that mirrors so much our lives in general. Paul's willingness to make tremendous sacrifices to his job, and ultimately his life in his following and support of J C are examples of this. He ultimately leaves the conflicts of working on Death Row after the execution of J C.
There is so much that can be said about this film. There are three inmates in this film who have all been convicted of terrible crimes against the state, justifiable of capital punishment that we as viewers care for. Two of those are individuals who committed the crime they were accused of, yet we still care. We care because the characters portrayed care, not the least of which is John Coffey. It is in many regards because he cares that we as the viewers are drawn into the process of caring. If the character of John Coffey can as a Christ Character draw us to this, how much more can the real character of Jesus. Hopefully, for others as it did me, The Green Mile will inspire us to care a little more for the people who surround us each day, as well as for those we so easily find disgusting, just like in the Green Mile. While all have sinned and come short there is forgiveness in J C, Jesus Christ that is.
A wonderful, wonderful film. On a scale of 1 - 10, 9
P.S. I do have a question about Michael Jeter. I heard that he had recently passed on. Is this true?
SURPRISED AT THE SIMILARITIES
Subject: Green Mile I Hadn't Notice The Connection Until Now
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000
From: Larry McGarr
I was very interested and surprised at the similarities between the characters and plots in the Green Mile and with Christ and His plan of salvation. I too thoroughly enjoyed the movie and feel it should have been considered for an Oscar. I've also read the book and the book goes into more detail about Paul's life after the Green Mile. It is a change for Steven King and one I hope he continues. Larry McGarr
Response: I am glad HJ helped you see the connections. -David.
THREE CROSSES IN GREEN MILE
Subject: Now my favorite movie!
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000
From: Jenni SERAPH724@aol.com
I'm a 17 year old and I have seen this movie twice (loved it even more the second time around.) First time I saw it I kept thinking "Gee, John Coffey reminds me a lot of Someone Else." It wasn't til I got home and looked the movie up on the Internet Movie Database and found myself staring at Coffey's full name that it totally clicked. He was a Christ-figure! So second time around I really looked for the symbolism and it was definitely there, as evidenced by this great sight. Anyway, I could write forever on this wonderful movie but it's getting late and I have school tomorrow.
There are two issues I'd like to address quickly, though. Firstly, I read the book after seeing the movie and really enjoyed that, too. I also wish they'd kept Coffey's prayer in the movie. I also liked this particular passage in the book (it's a dream Paul has on the ride back from taking JC to heal Melinda):
"I dozed off and dreamed of Calvary Hill. Thunder in the west and a smell that may have been juniper berries. Brutal and Harry and Dean and I were standing around in robes and tin hats like in a Cecil B. DeMille movie. We were Centurions, I guess. There were three crosses, Percy Wetmore and Eduard Delacroix flanking John Coffey. I looked down at my hand and saw I was holding a bloody hammer.
We got to get him down from there, Paul! Brutal screamed. We got to get him down!
Except we couldn't, they'd taken away the stepladder." (end of quote)
Boy did that passage ever give me chills after I read it! I guess after reading that I think Paul could easily represent a centurion. I highly recommend the book. I cried for nearly an hour after finishing it. I also cried both times at the theater which is pretty rare for me since I don't like crying in public. This movie just made me think about so many things.
As for the second issue, I've read some discussion about the violence in this movie. I am a teen and while I know I can't speak for my entire generation this movie inspired absolutely no violent reaction from me. In fact quite the opposite. I came away from it feeling very humbled and extremely grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made. Anyway, I know this isn't coming off quite the way I wanted it to. (I'm blaming it on the time :-)
PS Feel free to post my email. I love discussing this film.
WE ALL LEFT IN TEARS
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000
First, of all I would like to say that I must be a dumb redneck, because I picked up on none of this!! I am attending a seminary in order to be a Preacher. This does not mean that I know everything, as you will read in the following statement. I am just expressing what I got from the movie and the rest of your thougts!
I attended the Green Mile with four of my male friends and three of my female friends, all of whom attend a Christian University. Although everyone of us left with a tear in our eye (the guys even more than the girls), not a single one of us caught the relationship between this movie and the Bible. I guess I've felt that there's little hope for Hollywood in that sense. After reading all of these opinions about the movie from all these wonderful people, it has caused me to rethink the movie, (and Hollywood) I am blown away by all the connections between Jesus Christ's Character, not His person, and the movie. But one thing I've been thinking about is this. When walking out of the theatre, I couldn't help thinking about how the guards felt as if they had no choice in letting JC die, because of their own lives, and what might happen to them. How many times in our own lives do we "crucify" Christ because we are afraid of what this world might do to us? I've been put in these situations many of times. Most of the time, I stay strong and, unfortunately, some times I don't. That is something that they had to live with, just as Peter had to live with, and just as we have to live with. But Thankfully, we don't have to rely on a movie character who plays apart. We have the real deal who did give His life for all those times, we put our lives ahead of what matters most, JESUS!!!
Please do NOT post my email! Thanks and God Bless You all!
My response: I am glad to have helped you see with new eyes. You will never see a movie the same way again. Welcome to Hollywood Jesus, where the letters and comments are from the most insightful people on planet earth. Now you are a part of this wonderful adventure through our culture with a spiritual point of view.
INFECTION OF LIFE
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000
My favorite line in the movie is when the present day Paul is explaining to Elaine about the "curse" he received. She asks: You, mean he infected you with life?" A wonderful understanding of the life we have in Christ, whether that understanding is the eternal life of resurrection or the live we have now.
My favorite visual of the movie was the scene where John Coffey is watching the "flicker show" shortly before he is executed. There is a look of sheer delight on his face which is surrounded by the light of the projection -- a kind of halo.
My response: I liked that scene too.
IS STEPHEN KING CHRISTIAN?
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000
I went to see this movie last weekend with some friends from church. I can truthfully say this is the best movie I have ever seen. The most amazing thing to me is when the credits rolled I was not aware that Stephen King wrote this. Has he become a Christian? Yes there was bad language, but it was a film about prison, and yes there was some really gruesome scenes, but it was a film about the electric chair. I have been pondering this movie in my mind all week and I keep thinking how awesome God is that he can use Hollywood and all that goes with it to get the message of Jesus across to the general public. JC was not Jesus but a form of Christ. He made these people look at life a little different. The lady that was healed in the end was another example of loving each other. I think this movie should be seen by teenagers and all unbelieving adults. They can't walk out of the movie the same as when they walked in. I hope it wins every award it is nominated for.
-akb in tennessee
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