The mission of Good Faith Media is to provide “reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.” Our mission leans into the belief that we can find the fingerprints of God wherever we look, as well as in those places where we don’t often think to look. This encompasses artistic realms where discerning creators grapple with profound questions about humanity’s purpose, the essence of love and the search for hope and healing, among many others.

With 2023 coming to a close, we asked our team of writers, editors and contributing correspondents to reflect on the films they found especially meaningful this year. The following is a list of their selections. 

Directed by Greta Gerwig

“Barbie” follows the “stereotypical” Barbie doll (Margot Robbie) from Barbie Land to “real life.” On her journey, the plot develops through the storylines of Barbie and Ken (Ryan Gosling). 

Barbie discovers life is not as picture-perfect as she thought it would be. She comes face-to-face with sexism, realizing not everyone loves the work of Barbie merchandising. At Mattel, with an all-male board of directors, men control the representations of the Barbie doll.

Likewise, after exposure to patriarchy, Ken seemingly takes over Barbie Land on a journey to learn he is “Kenough.” Ken finds his relationships with others do not define him, and he learns power never provides what he longs for.

With a commentary on patriarchy, reality and stereotypes, viewers find valuable lessons throughout the movie. “Barbie” brings into perspective what femininity and masculinity really are, leaving us wondering about the impacts on our current society. – DM

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
Directed by James Mangold

The fifth, and likely the final, chapter in the Indiana Jones series of movies is just as intriguing, action-packed and utterly improbable as the previous films. But who should let a ridiculous premise get in the way of a good story with stirring music and a hero we can love? For me, the best thing about the movie was not the implausible premise but that Harrison Ford is 80 years old and still working. When asked why he was still making movies, Ford told interviewers that he didn’t need the money but knew that when he worked, a host of other people would have jobs — from actors and writers to production staff and caterers. I found that more admirable than the movie. – TC

“It Ain’t Over”
Directed by Sean Mullin

It’s uncommon for affability to cloak athletic achievement, yet such is the story of Lorenzo Pietro Berra – also known as Yogi. Sayings like “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical” and “It’s like déjà vu all over again” captured popular attention. Still, they also shrouded the Yankee catcher’s accomplishments for many outside – and even some inside – baseball. The St. Louis native actually paused his baseball career to join the U.S. Navy; he received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained on D-Day. He and his glamorous wife Carmen were married for 65 years, even as Yogi constantly endured insults about his looks. His baseball stats speak for themselves, but this doc now streaming on Netflix has others speaking for Yogi (who died in 2015), too: Billy Crystal, Derek Jeter, Bob Costas and many more. “It Ain’t Over” delivers a refreshing, inspiring look at an American original. – CV

“Past Lives”
Directed by Celine Strong

In her directorial debut, Celine Strong’s semi-autobiographical “Past Lives” follows the journeys of Na Young and Hae Sung, two childhood friends from Seoul who develop feelings for each other after their parents arrange a date between them. Soon after, Na’s family immigrated to Toronto, and the two lost touch. They reconnect online as adults after Hae, unaware Na has changed her name to Nora, goes on a search for her. The film narrates their attempts to reconnect, even after they have developed their own adult lives and new relationships. Strong’s story celebrates the power of childhood memories and reflects on the complexities of the immigrant experience. – CN

“The Eight Mountains”
Directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch

On the surface, this Italian film is a variation of the “City Mouse, Country Mouse” story. But at its heart, it is about the enduring power of friendship. Adapted from the novel by Paolo Cognetti, “The Eight Mountains” tells the story of Pietro, who, at the age of 11, spends a summer in a village in the Italian Alps where he befriends Bruno, the only remaining child in the community. The two lose contact after a failed attempt to move Bruno to Turin with Pietro’s family. A tragedy (and revelation) reunites the two when they are young adults. The rekindled friendship experiences twists and turns as each goes on their own journeys of self-discovery and transformation. Breathtaking visuals enhance the deeply-layered screenplay. –CN

Contributors Include:
Tony Cartledge, contributing editor and Nurturing Faith curriculum writer
Delany Metcalf, intern and GFM contributor
Craig Nash, senior editor
Cliff Vaughn, media producer

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