Blogs > Liberty and Power > "LUTHER"

Dec 27, 2003 6:43 am


I just saw the film “Luther.” My background, if nothing else, compelled me. I was raised by devout Minnesotan Lutherans who tried to live up to the best standards of that faith. Also, my grandfather and great grandfather (both Norwegian born) served as Lutheran pastors in Texas and Minnesota. Some people in my family hoped that I would follow in their footsteps.

The film was really quite good. Of course, there is plenty of room for complaint: Luther’s dark side is almost completely avoided and a subplot involving a handicapped child misfires (though my wife liked it).

Still, I chose to overlook any flaws for the larger message which is not so much about faith as it is about the importance of individual conscience, a rare quality in higher education today. The character Luther, in many ways, comes across as a Randian hero (Chris and Arthur please note) who shows integrity in standing up for his beliefs against incredible odds.

The performances are top-flight including Joseph Fiennes in the title role and Peter Ustinov (one of my childhood favorites). Despite Ustinov's considerably advanced age, he nearly steals the show as the relic-collecting German prince who is won over by Luther’s critique of the Catholic Church.

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