The Fate of the Furious – Movie Discussion
I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I know one thing—
you love me and you are not gonna shoot me. – Letty
In this latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, Dom, their leader, the man who religiously espouses the idea that “You never turn your back on family,” turns his back on his family. Suddenly, he is working for the bad guys arming them with nukes and launch codes, and the rest of the team has to join together to stop him.
Now, I know this franchise has its faults from a Christian mindset, but don’t think that it has no morality. There is a strong code of morality that they adhere to, it just falls short of the Lord’s standards…it picks and chooses. They are very much representative of the world in this. They have decided what matters and what doesn’t. Sexual purity is not important, but loyalty to your people is everything, for example. We tend to look at the world and call it immoral, or even amoral (without morals), but that’s often a very unfair judgement. And it makes people very defensive and angry to hear us say they have no morals, when they care very deeply about their code. Sometimes it’s better to simply start with recognizing their code. I can see that you have a code that you live by and that it’s very important to you. I see your sense of honor and that family matters to you. Family actually matters a lot to Jesus, too… Do you see how much more inviting this is? It leads into a conversation. From there you can possibly challenge some of the areas where their code of honor falls short of the Lord’s standard of righteousness. Instead of saying they have no morals, maybe appeal to their sense of honor and morality and raise the bar. Call out what is good in them and raise it up even higher, rather than criticizing and pointing out all that you see is lacking.
I had a friend who was like this. It was tempting to say he had no sexual morality, but as I talked with him, I realized that wasn’t true. He didn’t think it was important to follow God’s standards of sex only within marriage, but he did have his own standards of right and wrong which he fiercely stood by. So, while he didn’t have any compunction about having sex with someone he’d just met, he was ferocious about not cheating, for example. He was actually more righteous in his commitment to the person he was with than many married men I’ve known. That strong sense of right and wrong is important. It might be misdirected, for now, but the roots are good and when Christ comes in, they can be sharpened and redirected to true holiness.
I didn’t condemn his looseness, (although I did challenge him to raise the bar). He was raised in the church, so he knows the Bible’s perspective, but isn’t not what he believes right now. So, it’s a matter of integrity with him and a sign of his strength of character (not his lack of it) that he, much as he wants to please his parents and the church, won’t put on a sign of holiness without truly believing what he’s doing. Being genuine is part of that code—not doing something just to please others when it’s not what you believe. I fully believe though, and he agreed as well, that when Christ becomes real and/or when he sees a reason for the Bible’s mandates on sexuality, then he will live just as fiercely committed to the Bible’s code of righteousness as he has so far to his own.
In this way, I think Dom and his crew are so very indicative of the times. The younger generations are attracted to their brand of righteousness just as much as (or probably more so) the worldly appeal of fast cars and loose women. In fact, as much as that is part of the movies, it’s not the point of them. It’s only the framing; it’s not the centerpiece or the focal point…at least, not for most fans. And I dare say, we as Christians would do well to take a minute to look past the frame as well to consider the heart of the movies and why people are so drawn to them.
In this particular movie, F8, there is actually something really brilliant for our use as Christians in dealing with non-believers and the question of why God allows evil in the world. When Dom turns on the crew, it looks as if he has turned in every way: turned bad, turned traitor, turned his back on his team. Letty, however, doesn’t believe it. She knows Dom. She knows his character. She knows his heart, and she trusts in that, in what she knows to be true about him, more than she does in what she sees—the “facts” and circumstances. She tells the gang, “That wasn’t him. I don’t know what she’s got on him, but that wasn’t him.” And later, right after he killed one of the gang and threatened to kill her, she says, “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I know one thing—you love me and you are not gonna shoot me.”
It was a gutsy move. There was every reason for her to doubt him, fear him, be angry with him… But she trusted his heart and let that decide how she interpreted the circumstances. She never let the circumstances determine how she interpreted Dom’s heart. I don’t want to spoil the movie, so I’ll just point out the obvious, that she (and Dom) were vindicated. He wasn’t evil and hadn’t turned after all. He did love her and love his make-shift family, and all his actions were consistent with his personal code of righteousness.
Letty is a beautiful example for us. This is the place God wants to bring us to—that we are so sure of His heart and His love for us, that we interpret our circumstances through that lens. That no matter what the facts or circumstances seem to say, we know that He loves us and He would never do anything to harm us. God is consistent. He never changes. His values and His character never change. We cannot let our circumstances define what we think about God. They can be misleading. They are incomplete information, and our enemy is constantly trying to twist them to “prove” to us that God can’t be trusted. If we can just wait, time will show us that He is who He said He was... God, His heart and His actions will be vindicated in the end.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why didn’t Letty think Dom had turned on the team?
- How does Letty’s example model the response we ought to have towards God when circumstances make us doubt His love for us and/or His character?
- How does Dom’s brand of righteousness model the world’s standards? What is good about it? Where does it fall short of God’s standards of righteousness?