_Before Sunset_: People Unclear on the Concept

When I was a kid in Erie, PA, the newspaper carried a comic strip called Mr. Boffo. One of its running features is “People Unclear on the Concept.”
C. S. Lewis refers to atheist friend Owen Barfield as the “other” friend, “who read all the right books but got the wrong things out of them.”

Recently, I watched a movie on Netflix called Before Sunset (2004), with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. It is a sequel to a film called, surprisingly enough, Before Sunrise. Both movies concern a man and a woman who meet up in a European City and walk around talking. Very post-modern, existentialist, whatever.

But what struck me, as often happens when I watch or read postmodernist or existentialist stuff (like Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins) is how desperately these people are crying out for the very Christian worldview they decry.

In this case, there’s a scene where the guy played by Hawke talks about visiting a Trappist monastery and being awed at how genuinely holy (and happy) the monks were. Delpy’s character frequently dances around the emptiness of casual sex and says things that are fine for a self-proclaimed feminist, but if a chastity educator said them, that person would be decried as a backwards hick.

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