Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Movie Day Reviews: Mentoring Will Hunting, Sleuthing Nancy Drew

Not too many movies this week. Katie and I spent more time socializing with friends than watching movies!

Nancy Drew (2007): This movie was cute. That's the best way to describe it. It's predictable, somewhat unrealistic, and at times just plain silly; but c'mon, it's a Nancy Drew film! Nancy is quite the character; confident, smart, and willing to go against the crowd in order to solve the mystery. Played by Emma Roberts (yes, she's related to Julia Roberts), she retains some of her 1950s character from the books in this modern-day adaptation. Also, I don't think I've ever heard the word "sleuthing" said so frequently in a film! Cute, cute, cute.

Good Will Hunting (1997): Ten years ago, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's story about a young man from south Boston with a genius capacity became a beautiful film under the direction of Gus Van Sant. It's one of my favorite films of all time, one of those films that I can watch repeatedly and find something new to appreciate every time. This time, I watched it through the lens of mentorship

In the film, Will is mentored (I might even say, "discipled") by two men with very different views of relationship. The M.I.T. professor views his relationship with Will as a means to an end--that end being scholarship, legacy, prestige, etc. His mentorship is conditional, based on Will's performance. He only values Will as much as Will can meet his preset expectations. He feels Will owes him some sort of favor for mentoring him. This mentoring relationship is a great example of how mentoring can be distorted. I watch troubled kids with huge potential fall through the cracks in churches because they are labeled as "troubled" and given conditional love. If they don't perform properly, then they aren't worth the time and effort.

But Sean, Will's counselor in the film (played by Robin Williams), has a completely different view of mentoring. Sean is available and willing to listen, but also sets clear boundaries for Will. He refuses to give up on Will, yet also does not allow Will to simply say or do whatever he wants. He doesn't value Will because of performance; he values Will simply because Will is another human being with potential and beauty. Their relationship isn't a means to an end; it is a beautiful end in and of itself. He is honest and calls Will on his crap, but is also willing to listen and learn from Will's own wisdom. Sean shows Will unconditional love, a solid balance of grace and truth.

I want to be Sean to the young people I spend time with. I want to be available, yet not without boundaries. I want to be open and willing to learn, but also be willing to be honest with students about their poor decisions or mistakes. I want to love them not because of performance or character, but simply because they bear the image of God. I pray that the junior high ministry at Red Mountain could be filled with Seans who are loving students in deep and transforming ways.

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