Friday, July 8, 2011

The Film Club

Published by Twelve Books

Imagine your son dropping out of high school. Living at home. Not paying for rent or even getting a job. And spending his time watching movies. All with your complete approval.

Sounds like fiction to you?

But that is exactly what Gilmour did with his own son, Jesse, in real life. What was the catch? Well, Jesse had to watch the movies his father chose – three a week, usually with a particular theme. They watched them together and talked about them. This was Gilmour's way of educating his son without having an actual lesson/lecture or going to school.

This is a very enjoyable non-fiction book that I don't recommend trying at home. However, I do recommend having your Netflix page open while you read. You are going to want to watch many of these movies! I did enjoy seeing how the movies echoed and enlightened all the things going on in Jesse's life. Jesse did not just lounge around the house. He also dated three different women, started a rap group, and tried several part-time jobs over the course of three years. The good news is that at the end of that time he did decide to go to college. And spent a lot of quality time with his dad.

The biggest gripe I had with The Film Club is that I could not believe the absence of discipline and boundaries. And that does not even begin to address the lack of any kind of Christian morality seen in Gilmore or his son. At the beginning of the book, Jesse is fifteen and smokes. In the house. Without his father saying a word although his father doesn't seem to like it. He lives rent free yet seems to do little around the house. His girlfriends come over. He is out overnight. He comes home drunk or hungover. He is not supposed to be doing any drugs yet winds up in the hospital at one point because of taking drugs (and no consequences from his father on this). I don't even want to start on the fact that Gilmour and his wife trade houses with Jesse's mother so that this little experiment can take place. Or that Gilmour, his ex (Jesse's mother) and Jesse take a vacation – just the three of them – to Cuba.

What did this book have to do with my faith? This book made me realize again that boundaries are a healthy part of being a person of faith. I try my best to have healthy boundaries with my church and with my family. Jesus teaches us some important boundaries. He didn't just hang out and let everyone do what they wanted. He ate with sinners but forgave their sins – and told them to sin no more. Healthy boundaries – and some healthy discipline – can enhance our faith and our lives.

The Film Club has made me think about the movies that I would like my own son to watch someday. But he won't be dropping out of school to do so.

This book is a recommended read.

Happy reading!


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