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Customer Review

77 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I truly did not think Hollywood could make a movie of this caliber, March 30, 2010
This review is from: The Invention of Lying [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Wow. I was totally blown away. The last thing I actually expect Hollywood to do nowadays is make a movie that is thought provoking, tackles some truly profound issues about the human condition, and is funny to boot.

Ricky Gervais has won instant respect for me. I bet a friend before coming to Amazon (I rented the Blu-ray on Netflix) that there would be a bunch of 1 star reviews. And that none of them would actually be about the film per se or its quality but would be religious peoplem who, get offended when someone asks them to think about what they say they believe and why.

Gervais ends up examining 2 aspects of the human condition, lying and religion. What would a world be like where people simply not only did not but could not lie. You get a number of humorous situations from this. It makes you think about the role of 'social lying' in particular. Manners, in a way, for lack of a better word

Now on to religion. I think Gervais hit on 2 issues that are very germaine. One how can an 'all good God' be responsible for the good and the bad. Very hard for anyone to explain although people try with that oldie 'everything happens for a reason'. Also explores an honest reaction to a 'god' well tourting people for eternity.

Of more interest to me though was the potential consequences of becoming focused on an afterlife at the expense of this life. The character played by Jonah Hill represents an all too real condition. People who place less value on their life, this life, because everything will work out in the afterlife or that is the real life. This can create HUGE HARM to individuals, society, and the planet. If people don't treasure every day as it should be, if they don't treasure the earth as their home, if they don't treasure each and every species as their brothers and sisters, they risk missing out on exisistence, they miss out on the universe, they miss out on Life. And they do not, perhaps, treat the Earth, themselves, and each other with the depth and meaning they should. If the Earth to them is a shadow, how can it mean what it should?

This is of course IMO. I am sure many people will disagree. But kudos, HUGE kudos, to Ricky for getting this on film. One of the most meaningful and thought provoking, yet also comedic, films Hollywood has done in years.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 14, 2014 8:03:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 14, 2014 4:37:48 PM PDT
Dan Coffee says:
Abraham Lincoln once used a story about a little boy who came running up to his father, desperately trying to get help.

"Pa, pa, the hired man and sis are in the haymow and she's lifting up her skirts and he's letting down his pants and thy're afixin' to pee on the hay." The father replied, "Son, you got your facts absolutely right, but you're drawing the wrong conclusion."

When I read your review, this is what immediately came to mind for me.

You suggested a potential paradox "How can an 'all good God' be responsible for the good and the bad?"

Good and bad are only conceptual. Good and bad are relative to vulnerability. In our case, that condition becomes `human' (or mortal) vulnerability. If we were almighty (as God is) we would not think of experiences as being good and/or bad. The same is true of lying. If we were omniscient, lying would become non sequitur. Lying cannot exist in a situation where the truth is already known.

The Bible explains both of these mysteries but few people take the time to learn them. From the beginning, man was starting from scratch (in terms of knowledge), and God made the choice that we didn't need to know everything (at least not at that time). All knowledge was there, but the need and perhaps the ability to 'know' were not.

God gave us everything we needed to know with respect to our `innocence' (at that point in time). Included in the things He gave us, He gave us instruction not to partake from the "Tree of Knowledge" and he even explained the consequences of what would happen if we did. He didn't tell us not to put Mentos in the Diet Coke because it wasn't on that days agenda. You probably think I'm being glib, but making mention of something so out of place is my way of saying that God knew what we needed to know and he didn't tell us things that we didn't.

The Bible says that we are made in `God's image'. Think of this as being made with the ability to make decisions. If we could not make decisions/choices, we would be nothing but robots of a sort. [Let me digress for a second, and ask you if you would have preferred it that way? OOPS! I'm sorry. That IS a choice. If you were a robot you wouldn't be able to make that choice.]

As humans, we love the ability to make choices but when they are BAD (oh-oh ... there's that word) we look to blame it on someone or something other than ourselves. Because we are human, we have a problem. It hurts when we make BAD decisions because we are vulnerable to the consequences, and that was the very first thing that God had to teach us.

This reality (consequences) isn't actually a BAD thing `IF we learn from our experiences'. It's only a BAD thing if we don't. Life on earth is our opportunity to realize that we need God for protection, and best of all ... if we accept His offer, we will once again (in the life to come) be amply and eternally protected from harm. However ... if we continue to make gratuitous and frivolous choices, believing that we are smarter than God, there will ultimately and irrevocably be consequences.

Our thirst for knowledge is not a BAD thing, but we have to let God decide when and how we continue to learn. He is in charge. God has a plan to allow us to return to where we were when time began. Actually ... it will be even better the next time. It's remarkable! It's marvelous! And best of all ... It's available to ANYONE who is willing to repent. I believe that eternity will be our opportunity to see the infinite creation which God has performed (and is even now, continuing to performing). I look forward to that opportunity and you have an invitation to come along.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2014 5:03:40 PM PDT
Alex Green says:
^ This highlights the problem with religious followers. Copy/pasting BS, incapable of thinking for themselves or reading their book of choice in an objective manner. It is incredibly arrogant to think that our species are any more special than any other creature or living thing on this rock we call Earth, with whom we share DNA to one degree or the other. It's not because your "god" had a slow/lazy day, it's because we're one organism. There's no "plan" and there are no gods, all it takes is a random impact of a good-sized meteorite and our entire species can be wiped out along with the gods and goddesses we created to amuse ourselves with. Live in a moment, cheer up and don't worry about ancient fairytales.

Posted on Feb 8, 2016 12:04:00 AM PST
Austin Larry: Everything you said is how it hit me too. My thumbnail description of this movie would be that it is a beautiful fable. Its sweet, sad and thoughtful all at once. It really hit me on many levels. Ricky Gervais is very funny, but I also think he is a much better, more subtle, actor then most realize. It seems like this is true of many of our comedians. I don't know how I never saw this movie before now, but I'm sure glad I did.
You said,"the potential consequences of becoming focused on an afterlife at the expense of this life". Years ago, I remember seeing an episode of an anthology show like the new Outer Limits or new Twilight Zone. It dealt with the same thing. Somehow, people know for sure that they would be reincarnated. So they stopped striving to be better or improve their lot. If things got too bad they knew they could just try again. They were kind of like Mark's friends. The world went to pot.

Dan Coffee: Your religious babble is exactly the kind of thing this movie was partly about. While we are in charge of our reaction, there are good and bad things in the world. The kind of arrogance you display would tell a starving child that their hunger was not good or bad and they just thought it was because they drew the wrong conclusion. The tsunami they saw was only sent by the Man in the Sky to take them to heaven.
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