[Spoilers ahead for A Quiet Place]
There is a moment in A Quiet Place (written and directed by John Krasinski) that really surprised me. And it wasn’t the aliens. In fact, this moment made me realize that the movie isn’t really even about aliens. It was the scene where they take hands as a family and silently bless their meal. That is an unusual scene for Hollywood anymore, and it surprised me more than any aliens jumping out. But it wasn’t just that there was a prayer in the movie. It was more that this was Krasinski and his actual wife, Emily Blunt, with two actor children playing their children. I looked online and found out that John and Emily actually have two children together. So, this was somewhat representative of their own family and felt more personal than just a scene in a movie. It felt as if they were subtly revealing to the world that they pray as a family. (According to Wikipedia, Krasinski was raised and is still a practicing Roman Catholic.)
Displaying any type of faith on the silver screen can have repercussions. And my first thought was “I’ll bet they get attacked for that.” But then I realized that this is exactly what A Quiet Place is all about. In the movie, if they prayed loud enough that they were heard, it could mean an attack from the alien creatures that seem to patrol the area. In real life, if we share too much of our religious beliefs (especially online) there can be repercussions (even losing your livelihood). Also in the movie, they have 3 kids at the beginning and the youngest gets attacked for being too loud with a toy. I remember when we had 3 kids and we stopped at a fast food place to get a burger in Golden Colorado and some of the disapproving looks, whispers, and pointing we experienced.
I believe that many of us, myself included, have become less likely to voice our personal beliefs or heartfelt feelings about things we care about: parenting, politics, religion, diet, or pretty much anything for fear of being attacked by some stranger (or worse a friend).
A few months back, my brother’s place of business was mistakenly thought to be the employer of a misguided lady who had filmed herself and her children trespassing and defiling a mosque. His office started getting some threatening phone calls and a bunch of negative reviews started appearing online saying that they employed racists there and that no one should do business with them. They were calling on my brother to fire this woman. When he tried to explain that she didn’t work there they accused him of lying. They said that he was trying to protect and defend her and that he was just as bad as she was. More and more enraged people joined in against my brother, and his employees until one of the accusers realized their mistake and they all turned their attacks on the actual employer across town. Within a few hours, the negative reviews disappeared from my brother’s site, and the next day, the news reported that the lady had lost her job.
This opened my eyes to how quickly and easily a person’s livelihood could be lost or a business could be destroyed
If you say or do something that upsets people, instead of approaching you privately about the matter and trying to ‘reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18), they may just attack and try to destroy you online.
Bishop Robert Barron (WordonFire.org) calls A Quiet Place ‘The Most Unexpectedly Religious Film of the Year’ and makes this interesting observation:
The central drama of A Quiet Place is that Mrs. Abbott is expecting a child. The entire family realizes, of course, that a wailing infant would, given the circumstances, mean almost certain death for all of them. And yet, they decide not to kill the child at his birth but to hide him and mute his cries in various ways. When so many in our culture are willing to murder their children for the flimsiest of reasons, when the law gives full protection even to partial-birth abortion, when people blithely say that they would never bring a baby into such a terrible world, the monastic family in this film welcomes life, even into the worst of worlds, and even when such an act is of supreme danger to them.
Whether you agree or disagree with abortion, whether you are republican or democrat (or if like me you were shamed by people for voting a third party) it seems clear to me that A Quiet Place is not really about aliens attacking, but about us attacking each other. It is about trying to live according to your convictions while the world attempts to silence you.
One major reason we decided to start blogging again, was to try to help us get our voices back. We have felt suppressed by the many gratuitous attacks on people for expressing their convictions. And we have found ourselves hesitating in fear to speak our truth loud enough for the world to hear it. But now is the time, and we feel impressed–even if people don’t agree with us–to share the life lessons that we have learned.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, whether intentional or not, created a metaphor for online attacks while at the same time pulled back the curtain a little bit to put some of their beliefs on display. Perhaps their convictions were quiet enough to not draw many attackers, but to those of us who feel silenced, the meaning was loud and clear.