In my opinion, there was one movie that topped all others this year. You must know, however, that none of the critics agree with me. In fact, EW.com gave it a D rating. The Atlantic didn't even give it a mention in their list of top movies or honorable mentions. It's not on the top 10 list of any of the movie critics at Variety.com, nor is it found anywhere in the top 40 best movies announced by Yahoo.com.
But they are all wrong. Because The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington is by far the best movie of 2014. I watched it for the 3rd time tonight--and it is fantastic. I'm not going to give you any spoilers, because you must watch it for yourself. But I was hooked from the first few seconds when a Mark Twain quote appears on the screen and hangs long enough to consider deeply its meaning: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." (Of course, the first time I spent half the movie trying to figure out how Mark Twain stole that quote from Rick Warren, but I digress).
This movie shows the power of seeing and believing the best in another human being. It shows that there is no one who is too far gone, and it's possible to become something new even if you've spent years being something else. You will see what happens when you speak life into someone and call out of them a goodness that they can not yet see. You will watch what can happen when a "normal" person living an otherwise mundane and ordinary life begins to listen, observe, and shows love and grace and dignity to the broken people all around.
Yes, it's a violent movie. Yes, part of the appeal is a vigilante justice that isn't possible or right. But more than that, it is a movie about redemption, both for the rescued and the rescuer. And who doesn't love a movie about redemption?
Six years ago I wrote and published Pop Goes the Church, a book about the potential of finding redeeming stories in pop culture to start spiritual conversations with everyday people. Well this is one such movie where it's just waiting to be leveraged.
Note: Do your homework. This movie is rated R and is not for children.