There are Unitarian Universalist angles to four prominent movies this season.
Movie-goers, have you noticed all the UU-adjacent films lately? Sure, none of them mentions Unitarian Universalism, but there’s a UU angle to each.
Lady Bird (© A24/Everett Collection)
Critical darling Lady Bird was made by Greta Gerwig, who featured her childhood UU congregation, the UU Society of Sacramento, California, in her previous film, Frances Ha.
UU World interviewed Gerwig in 2013; three young ministers discussed Lady Bird and Unitarian Universalism in 2017.
The Greatest Showman turns the story of circus impresario and huckster P.T. Barnum into a musical. Barnum was a devout Universalist and a funder of Tufts, the Universalist-founded college.
The Greatest Showman (© Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox Film)
In 2003, Hank Peirce explored Barnum’s Universalist connections for UU World.
The Post dramatizes the government’s fight with the Washington Post over its publication of the Pentagon Papers; the government also came after the UUA’s Beacon Press, which published the complete text in book form.
In 2001, Warren Ross retold the story of the FBI’s attempts to seize UUA bank records after Beacon Press published the papers. In 2006, Allison Trzop explained why she found Beacon Press’s courage to publish the report so inspiring; her Master’s thesis is “Beacon Press and the Pentagon Papers.”
The Man Who Invented Christmas (© Kerry Brown/Bleecker Street)
The Man Who Invented Christmas depicts the penning of A Christmas Carol, which Charles Dickens wrote during his Unitarian years.
In 2006, Michael Timko highlighted Unitarian themes in A Christmas Carol, which Dickens wrote after joining a Unitarian church in London, which he did after his visit to America, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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