Once Kris figures out Arlen’s identity, he refuses to accept any of his books unless he agrees to a specific agreement. Admittedly, this twist of plot is a little difficult to buy, given that Arlen could easily leave and try any number of bookstores, but if you just roll with it, you’ll quickly begin to discover some helpful insights into why Arlen is the way he is. And it’s not a guy who believes in God. But then again you already knew that, right?

Back to that aforementioned bargain, though. For every few books that Kris takes off his hands, Arlen must answer one of Kris’ questions about the meaning of life. Agreeing, reluctantly so, mind you, it doesn’t take long for Kris to realize that the platitudes in Arlen’s book couldn’t be more opposite from his actual views on life, even if he’s delivered them with such confidence in his writing.

Although short and impatient with Kris, Arlen’s attitude when Elizabeth poses these same sorts of questions is decidedly different—all because he hopes to win her heart. In his responses to Elizabeth, there are glimpses of a time when he looked to God—and believed—but that he couldn’t fully surrender to the “Higher Power” that empowered his writing in the first place.

While the movie’s spiritual takeaway isn’t deep by any means, even embarrassing simplistic at times in a pop psychology sort of way, the investigation of what’s authentic faith—and what isn’t—is still a worthy and intriguing topic for discussion once the movie ended. And when Oprah is touting her latest self-help book of choice, you’ll probably give a second thought to the true ideology of the person who wrote it because there’s usually more to the man (or woman) than the feel-good message he/she’s selling.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Social drinking, plus one character is recovering from a life of alcohol abuse.
  • Language/Profanity:  There are several uses of the “f” word and a smattering of other swear words.
  • Sex/Nudity:  None.
  • Violence:  Nothing that’s not of the comedic variety.

 

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.