Spoiler Alert (Movie Review)

My wife picked out a movie not long ago and said, “I chose this movie because it has Morgan Freeman in it. All of his movies are good.” Robert Redford was the other main actor in that movie. I just smiled.

I agree with my wife’s assessment of Freeman, but I also know that Redford has long been a woman’s favorite for his good looks, but like Freeman, he’s also a good actor. As he ages, his acting seems to get better and he’s also found some interesting and diversified roles.

A few nights later, I chose another Robert Redford movie for us to watch, “All is Lost.” If you are a Robert Redford fan, this movie was made for you because he is the only actor and the only voice. You have to be a good actor to hold an audience with that kind of movie.

He plays a character that isn’t even named who is sailing 1700 nautical miles from the Sumatra Straights when his sailboat, the Virginia Jean, rams a container during the night that has fallen off a cargo ship.

The hole in his sailboat is substantial. Though he is able to patch it and pump the water out of his boat, he later runs into a mammoth storm that capsizes his boat. He manages to place rations, water, navigation equipment, and some survival gear into a life raft before the boat slips beneath the Indian Ocean.

Following another storm that capsizes his raft, the man reacts in despair when he discovers his water supply was compromised with seawater during the ordeal. He is able to rig a way to harvest fresh water through a method of condensation and survives a few days longer.

With only a half day’s rations left, he penned some final words, placed them in a jar and threw the jar into the ocean: “13 July, 4:50 P.M. I’m sorry. I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried. I think you would all agree that I tried to be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right, but I wasn’t; and I know you knew this in each of your ways, and I am sorry. All is lost here, except for soul and body, that is, what are left of them and a half-day’s ration. It’s inexcusable really. I know that now. How it could have taken this long to admit this now I’m not sure, but it did. I fought to the end. I’m not sure what that is worth, but know that I did. I have always hoped for more for you all. I will miss you. I’m sorry.”

The words were written more for his benefit than anyone else’s. Certainly, there was little hope the note would ever reach his family or friends. They were meant to be his last words. They were his eulogy, of sorts, and his farewell to family all rolled into one paragraph.

Then that night, off in a distance a light appeared. How far away the boat might have been is impossible to say. It has been claimed that in perfect conditions we can see a candle burning ten miles away. With his hope rekindled, he took his water container and built a fire inside of it, hoping to draw the attention of whoever commandeered the other boat.

As you might guess, a fire and a raft are a poor combination. Soon his lifeboat was ablaze and he had to jump into the dark waters.

He treaded water for a little while. Whether his strength first left him or his will to fight any longer is hard to say, but he eventually slipped beneath the waters and began to sink.   The prophecy of his note was coming true. Just as you thought that all was lost, a light appeared at the surface above him.

His fire had been seen! With the last bit of energy and breath left in him, he swam toward the light and reached for the hand of his savior, which was extended to him beneath the salty sea.

I see a metaphor for death in the ending of this movie. At death, all can seem lost. We have no more time to make amends. We have no more chances to make things turn out differently. There is no more time to be true, to be kind, to be strong, to love, or to get things right. The dye is cast.

All is lost except soul and body and soon the body will decay and be out of sight. We are placed at the mercy of the Creator. Should there be any hope, He will have to reach out and be the Savior.

The Psalmist wrote: “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me” Psalm 63:6-8 NIV.

One day we will write our last chapter and others will judge whether we fought a good fight or not. Regardless of what they might say of us, all is lost unless God reaches out to us and holds us up.

The ending of Redford’s movie reminds me that death will be letting go of this world while we simultaneously reach out for the hand of God who through His grace will welcome us into the one to come. That is the hope of the Christian.  The Christian does not believe that all is lost at death.

I think we will be drawn to a great Light.   That’s how I picture it.   What’s most important is that I keep moving toward that Light now, because God’s hand is always extended and salvation actually comes long before we draw our last breath.  It did for the Psalmist.  Has it come for you?