So yesterday morning, my daughter and I went to see Evan Almighty. This is a follow-up to 2003’s Bruce Almighty. My husband and I really enjoyed the Jim Carrey film that featured Morgan Freeman in the role of ‘God’. God was answering Bruce’s prayers about being able to do things better than God. The movie was populated with painful moments, bittersweet moments and wonderful moments. You may or may not remember Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell) from the first film – he’s the somewhat mean, albeit tortured newscaster that Bruce embarrasses terribly by making him do odd things with his mouth on air. (Fair warning, the lower half of this blog contains some spoilers for the film, so you may not want to continue reading if you haven’t seen the film).
Now flash forward a few years, Evan Baxter and his wife Joan (the wonderful Lauren Graham) and their three sons are moving to Virginia because Evan has been elected to Congress on a ‘change the world.’ Joan and his sons are hoping that Evan’s plans include spending more time together as a family, but as usual – Evan’s work interferes. Joan suggests that Evan should pray, because no matter how talented they are or skilled – it can never hurt to ask for help. So Evan does just that – and that’s when God grants him his prayer.
The Interesting Part of the Movie
At one point during the film, Joan has left Evan because his behavior seems crazy. He’s growing a beard that he can’t shave (a la The Santa Clause) and he’s ‘purchased’ eight or nine of the lots adjacent to their own. In the middle of all this, he’s building an Ark. That’s right, an Ark. God told him to build an Ark and that’s what he’s doing.
It’s obvious when Joan leaves him that she still loves him, but she’s frightened of his behavior and she’s reacting as a mother who wants to protect her children. While sitting in a diner, eating, she and her boys see an news story about Evan and the lampooning the newscasters are doing about his building an Ark. When the boys go to the bathroom, Morgan Freeman’s God comes to talk Joan in the guise of a waiter (his name tag reads Al Mighty).
In casual conversation, he offers her the following advice:
- Sometimes when we pray to God to change the world, God doesn’t change the world, he gives us the opportunity to do it for ourselves
- Sometimes when we pray to God for our family to spend more time together, he gives us the opportunity to do just that
The first prayer was Evan’s and the second was Joan’s. Evan’s journey to build the Ark is an answer to both changing the world and spending more time together. Joan gets the message and she and the boys return home to help Evan.
Yes, there are some animal antics in the movie, but it’s a far more uplifting comedy that promotes family, marriage, commitment and faith. After all, Evan looks like a lunatic, but he’s doing what he believes in – he’s following his faith. Joan’s afraid, she’s worried terribly for her husband, but she follows her heart and she returns because she can do more with him than running away from the situation.
At the end of the film, there’s a moment where Evan and his family are enjoying quality time together on a hike. He sees ‘God’ standing beneath a tree and he goes to talk to him. He asks him how has anything changed, they built the Ark, they sent the message – but have they really changed the world? Morgan Freeman’s ‘God’ reminds Evan that we change the world through one Act of Random Kindness at a time – that’s what building the ARK is now – acts of random kindness.
It’s a great film. It’s a great message. It’s great for the whole family. I also think it says a lot for the faith and the commitment we share in our marriage – whether our spouses are hearing God or not. Have you seen Evan Almighty?