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10 Movies That ... Deal With In\Fidelity - 6th Commandment

10 Movies That ... Deal With In\Fidelity - 6th Commandment

Reformation Rush Hour

So you like movies? Here's a list of 10 movies that deal with infidelity. Listen to Pastors Ted Giese and Craig Donofrio talk about their picks on the Reformation Rush Hour program on KFUOam radio. Also these 2 lists of 5 movies are not necessarily always going to be recommendations, generally speaking this is a conversation about movies that delve into the topic of the 6th Commandment as found in Luther's Small Catechism, many/most of these movies are not salutary or beneficial. These two lists run the gambit from a family film, to romantic comedies, to historical dramas to a physiological thriller! In addition to adultery Giese and Donofrio will also be looking at the fidelity side of the 6th Commandment as well as Jesus' views on adultery, divorce and marriage! Yup it's a full hour of two guys talking about love, sex, marriage and movies.

Watch the film trailers and film clips for these 2 lists of 5 movies here and click here to listen to Donofrio and Giese's conversation about these films.

The 6th Commandment

You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honour each other. Get the appGet the book

Giese's List Of 5 Picks

5) The Princes Bride (1987) Rated PG

First up for Giese is The Princes Bride a Rob Reiner film from 1987. This is one of the few films that falls into the recommendation department. Most everyone will have a good time watching it, it's charming and funny and warm-hearted and also has a couple positive things to say about fidelity and marriage.

The film is framed by a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading a book to his grandson (Fred Savage) who's home sick from school. In the Trailer the Grandfather sets up the film explaining that, "Since the invention of love there have been seven truly great romances. Wesley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup's (Robin Write) was easily in the top three ... you think it's easy to hold onto a good relationship? This guys Wesley has to climb up the cliffs of insanity ... duel to the death ... battle a giant and wrestle a very large rat ... and all this in the first two chapters!" In the movie Wesley and Buttercup are shown living a sexually pure and decent life in what they say and do, and Buttercup only agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) when she is convinced that Wesley has been killed by pirates ... turns out however that Wesley wasn't killed by pirates and he has returned before the wedding ceremony between Buttercup and the evil Prince Humperdinck to rescue his true love. This movie is squarely in the fairytale family film category however it does give a good example of living a chaste life, especially a chaste life leading up to marriage. 

Just for fun here's a fan made video that highlights the Wedding Ceremony that Wesley and his friends are trying to stop.


4) Indecent Proposal  (1993) Rated R for sexuality and language

Second up is Indecent Proposal is an Adrian Lyne film about a young couple, Diana (Demi Moore) and David Murphy (Woody Herrelson), who get mixed up with a rich and powerful man John Gage (Robert Redford) who offers them one million dollars to sleep with David's wife Diana. The interesting thing in this film is that all sex that is shown is between Diana and David - and the scene where Dian and Gage are about to have their sexual encounter is one where the camera fades to black not showing the audience what happened between them.

The first clip shows the indecent proposal but by the end of the film the movie becomes a film about forgiveness, check out the second clip which is taken from the final scenes of the film. In the final scene there if forgiveness between husband and wife for having accepted the proposal. Jesus says that sexual immorality legitimately counts as grounds for divorce,[1] Jesus however doesn't say that divorce has to happen categorically because Scripture likewise teaches that sin can be forgiven, even adultery. Indecent Proposal is ultimately a film that highlights the possibility of forgiveness within a marriage even if there's been infidelity.


3) The Wedding Singer (1998) Rated PG-13 for sex-related material and language

Third for Giese is a The Wedding Singer. At the beginning of this comedy Bobby Heart (Adam Sandler) the Wedding Singer is jilted and left at the altar. After this he finds himself falling in love with a woman who serves at the wedding banquets he performs at. Her name is Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore) and she's engaged to be married to a creep named Glen Guglia (Matthew Glave). Donofrio points out that the movie implies that Julia has been sleeping with Glen before their planned wedding ceremony and it also implies that Bobby had been sleeping with his fiancée before she left him at the altar, that being said the love that grows between Bobby and Julia is a pure one and they are chaste towards each other before their wedding. There is even a discussion in the film about what kind of kiss is appropriate in a wedding service at a church. Not a perfect movie, but a movie that holds up the virtuous side of marriage and doesn't glory in infidelity. Faithfulness in the end is what the two central characters are looking for in a spouse and that's embodied in the little song Bobby writes for Julia as part of his wedding proposal. Just for fun here's a fan made video of that song with some adorable cartoon work for good measure:  


2) The English Patient (1996) Rated R for sexuality, some violence and language

Fourth up is The English Patient staring Kristin Scott Thomas who plays Katharine Clifton the wife of Geoffrey Clifton (Colin Firth). In this movie based on the Michael Ondaatje novel of the same name Katharine falls for a man named Count Laszlo de Almásy (Ralph Fines) and the two of them have an adulterous affair. Hollywood loved this movie and gave it 9 Oscars and 51 other awards. Giese thought it was one of the worst movies ever: Yes, it's shot beautifully, the camera is in focus and the production is great and so is the acting, even still it's just a terrible movie. Donofrio concurs saying, "to consider this a love story is a disaster in my mind, it is anything but a love story, it's a lust story, an adultery story, it's a cheating story, it's a betrayal story and like you I find nothing redeemable in it except the cinematography."  Within the film the most galling part is how Geoffrey Clifton, Katharine's husband, is treated by his wife. He is a guy who just wants to love and honour his wife and does everything to do just that while she is board and selfish and cruel to him by having trysts and affairs. In a way the character of Geoffrey in the movie is a lot like Uriah the Hittite from the Biblical narrative of the affair of David and Bathsheba,[2] Geoffrey and Uriah are both stand up guys who highly value honour and love their wives and they both get cheated on by deeply selfish individuals.  

1) Fatal Attraction (1987) Rated R for Disturbing Violent Content, Language, and Sexuality/Nudity

Fifth up for Giese is the iconic Fatal Attraction another Adrian Lyne film however unlike Indecent Proposal it doesn't take one million dollars to bring about the adultery at the heart of this film. Fatal Attraction is the cautionary tale of a married New York City lawyer Dan Callagher (Michael Douglas) who ends up having a short affair with a woman he meets through work. Alexandra Forrest (Glenn Close) is a editor for a publishing house and is not a physiologically stable individual. This film is an infamous psychological thriller and it provides a warning for people considering an extra marital affair - the warring is: Don't do it, it will go badly.

After the adulterous affair Dan wants to call things off with Alexandra but she "will not be ignored" and she both plots and works to ruin his life, by the end of the film things have escalated to violence. The film was originally supposed to end with Alexandra committing suicide making it look like a murder and framing Dan for it. This ending was shot but didn't play well in test screenings so instead the film ends with Dan's wife Beth (Anna Archer) killing Alexandra in self defence. While most cases of adultery don't end in murder the film does highlight the great risks associated with adultery. Like in Indecent Proposal Beth and Dan do find forgiveness following the adultery. It's certainly a well acted and distressing film about very broken people.  

Donofrio' List Of 5 Picks

5)  Forest Gump (1994) Rated PG-13 for drug content, some sensuality and war violence

First up for Donofrio is Forest Gump another Robin Write Movie! This time she plays Jenny Curran opposite to Tom Hanks' Forest Gump. Forest is a simple man who genuinely loves Jenny but she is a troubled and broken individual. They at one point do have a child together, later they do finally get married but it is short lived and Jenny dies leaving Forest to care for their son Forest Jr.. In the end Donofrio points out there is an honouring of marriage. The second clip is from a touching scene that highlights Forest's deep love for Jenny.

4) Hyde Park on the Hudson (2012) Rated PG (Canada) Rated R (MPAA) for brief sexuality

Second up for Donofrio is Hyde Park on the Hudson a Roger Michell movie about F.D Roosevelt having an emotional affair of a pseudo-sexual nature with a second cousin who worked for him as a secretary. Not a movie recommendation, Donofrio says that he found the movie to be "tedious and boring" even though he "loves Bill Murray" who plays President Roosevelt. It's a movie about a Politian having a sexual affair ... how to put the best construction on that ... not sure. Hyde Park on the Hudson is a movie that shows how sometimes the affair doesn't require the actual sexual act, infidelity can come from other forms of intimacy that interfere with husbands and wives loving and honouring each other. It's an illustration of how people of all walks of life and all states of health can struggle to maintain a sexually pure and decent life. Surprise, surprise "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."[3]

3) When Harry Met Sally (1989) Rating R for strong crude content including graphic sexual dialogue, and language

Third for Donofrio is When Harry Met Sally another Rob Reiner film- yes, this is the, "I'll have what she's having" movie and as you might imagine it's not as family friendly a movie as The Princes Bride. It's a movie about a couple who starts our disliking each other, then they become friends and then they move to love. Harry Burns (Billy Crystal), who Donofrio says is a bit of a "dirt bag," has a very cavalier attitude towards sex and the movie glorifies the idea of promiscuity. The woman he eventually ends up with is Sally Albright (Meg Ryan). Meg Ryan of course is famous for being in a pile of Romantic Comedies and Romantic Dramedies - everything from Sleepless in Seattle (1993) to You've Got Mail (1998) to Kate a Leopold (2001). She was even in the awful movie City of Angels (1998) which Giese and Donofrio talked about in their 10 movies that ... deal with angles episode of Reformation Rush Hour. When Harry Met Sally was the movie that kicked off her romantic comedy carrier, it's also the movie that brought Harry Connick Jr. into the lime light. Donofrio likes this movie for this list because of its sexual confusion and its investigation of societies notion that people should know if they are sexually compatible before marriage. The movie highlights just how bumpy a road it can be when people follow this way of thinking in life. It shows just how much un-needed trouble this idea brings into relationships. While marriage wins out in the end Donofrio still has a hard time recommending it. For a little fun here's Harry Connick Jr. singing "It Had to be You," from the movies sound track. 


2) The Wedding Crashers (2005) Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language

Donofrio's number four pick is The Wedding Crashers a movie about two friends, John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vice Vaughn), who have a pastime of crashing weddings and wedding receptions all the while trying to pick up women who have marriage on the mind and are therefore susceptible to the idea of finding a mate. They of course are taking advantage of these feeling and have no intention of getting married. In certain ways this approach to sex and marriage comes back to haunt them during the film. Donofrio gives this comedy a solid 2 on a scale of 1 to 10: While The Wedding Crashers has a sort of crass humour to it the film certainly isn't a salutary or beneficial movies.

Now keeping in mind that Giese saw the movie once back some time in 2005 or 2006, it might not be a surprise that he could misremember the contents of the movie. Giese was quite sure that Vince Vaughn had recited  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in the film - turns out after some post game investigation this is not the case. Around the same time that The Wedding Crashers came out there was also this popular show on TV called How I met Your Mother which did in its second season have one of its characters, Marshall Erikson (Jason Segel), recite the popular Scripture passage used in weddings. To be fair 1 Corinthians 13 does briefly show up in The Wedding Crashers, check out the way it shows up in the film and how it shows up in season two of How I met Your Mother. In both cases 1 Corinthians 13 is played for laughs and yet there it is cropping up in popular culture.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

The Wedding Crashers does, like When Harry Met Sally end on a high note with Jeremy Grey getting married to Gloria Cleary (Isla Fisher), one of the ladies he's played earlier in the film. At the wedding, the other main character John publicly asks for forgiveness from Gloria's sister Claire (Rachel McAdams) and the film ends with them together as a couple, presumably on the way to marriage too.     

1) The Waterboy (1998) Rated PG-13 for language and some crude sexual humour

Donofrio's fifth pick is The Waterboy, less poignant than Forest Gump yet still a movie about a simpleton with a childhood love, this Adam Sandler comedy is about Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) a college football team's water boy. Alongside his work as a water boy Bobby is also in love with Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), his high school crush, who he finally gets a chance to date when he discovers his amazing ability to tackle just about anyone landing him an opportunity to move from handing out water bottles to playing college football. The part of the film Donofrio wanted to talk about was how at the end of the film after Vicki and Bobby get married one of the guests, Townie (Rob Schneider), tells them that they can now freely go a have sex as man and wife, of course being that it's a rather crude comedy he tells them this by yelling out, "you can do it! you can do it all night long!" 

Donofrio wanted to point out the great gift that's given in the 6th Commandment, which is the gift of a pure and decent sexual union between husband and wife blessed by God inside of marriage. Even though Bobby comes from a broken home the film in the end does honour marriage. They are a rather weird couple but they love each other and are good for each other and end up married.


Honourable Mentions -

There are literally thousands of movies that touch on this topic (Everything from Walk The Line, to Django Unchained, to Joe Dirt) but one that was brought up in the broadcast was Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012) a movie that deal with young love and a desire for early marriage. The characters in the movie are only about fourteen so that is very, very young by today's standards. That being said Donofrio and Giese talked a bit about the cruel nature of encouraging people to wait until they are in their thirties to get married.

Are teenagers today ready to get married? There were times in the not to distant past where they did but at those times they also received a lot of support and help from the society in general and their family and friends in particular. To wrap things up here's a fun little clip from Moonrise Kingdom where the central characters are requesting to be married.


Here's a list of 10 movies that ... deal with Stealing (7th Commandment)

Here's a list of 10 movies that ... deal with lying (8th Commandment)

Here's a list of 10 movies that ... deal with coveting houses (9th Commandment)

Here's a list of 10 movies that ... deal with coveting (10th Commandment)

For current movie reviews of films in the theatre right now by Pastor Ted Giese check out, Where Christianity Meets Culture IssuesEtc!


[1] Matthew 5:27-32, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

[2] 2 Samuel 11

[3] Romans 3:23