Find the latest Christian movie reviews here at! We offer movie reviews from a Christian perspective allowing you to make an informed decision prior to going to the theater. Our Christian movie reviews include your standard movie review information such as release date, rating, genre, run time, director, and actors, but they will also include "cautions" about language, profanity, alcohol, smoking, drug use, violence, crime, religion and morals. You can also find Christian music, Christian video, Christian news and much more all free on Christian Movie Reviews - Family Friendly Entertainment

Songs from the Second Floor

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Songs from the Second Floor
from Film Forum, 12/19/02

While you're in line for The Two Towers, try asking your fellow moviegoers what they thought of Songs from the Second Floor. Their response will likely be "Huh?" But this acclaimed film from Swedish director Roy Andersson won the Golden Palm and Jury prizes at the Cannes Film Festival two years ago, and now that it has found a U.S. distributor (New Yorker Films), the few who have seen it have offered rave reviews.

The film deserves the praise. Andersson has higher intentions than mere crowd-pleasing—he's more a visual artist than a storyteller. Songs is slow-moving, surreal, and clouded in a pale gloom, a troubling work of art that may be cinema's most poetic echo of the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Andersson takes us on a tour of a troubled city in which men seek only fulfillment and financial success, leaning on their own understanding for support. Ignoring God, rejecting their wives, refusing to give or receive love, they become bitter, despondent, wrathful, even suicidal. Bizarre imagery underlines the fact that all of their hard work has come to nothing: a traffic jam, for example, winds endlessly through the town, barely budging. The motionless drivers get desperate; some exit their cars to search for sustenance in trash cans. In the midst of their folly, some recite comical revisions to Ecclesiastes as a mantra: "Beloved is the man who sits down. Beloved is the man who catches his finger in a door." Crucifixes are everywhere, suggesting a possible solution to their madness. But to these business-minded men, Jesus is just a commodity. A crucifix salesman throws away his existing stock, shouting, "How can you make money with a crucified loser?"

While our tour guide has an explosive sense of humor, I found the experience to be wearying and often quite unpleasant, mostly due to the moral vacuity of the film's many deranged characters. You could call it "the feel-bad movie of the year." But its imagery still haunts me, weeks after viewing it, and its illustrations of Scripture — intentional or otherwise—speak to the painful truths underlying Andersson's vision. Great art doesn't have to be "feel-great" art, after all. My full review is at Looking Closer.

J. Robert Parks (Phantom Tollbooth) is similarly impressed: "The film is gorgeously shot with spectacular widescreen compositions and moody lighting. And I loved the exploration of religious themes, tinged as they are with deep melancholy. Admittedly, this kind of thing isn't for everyone, but Songs … is an exhilarating look into the abyss."

Mainstream reviews range from expressions of admiring bewilderment to profound insight. Roger Ebert says, "I love this film because it is completely new, starting from a place no other film has started from, proceeding implacably to demonstrate the logic of its despair, arriving at a place of no hope. Songs … is a parade of fools marching blindly to their ruin, and for the moment we are still spectators and have not been required to join the march. The laughter inspired by the movie is sometimes at the absurd, sometimes simply from relief."