Today, I am going to share my “takeaway” from Frank Darabont’s 2001 American romantic drama, The Majestic, which was the 11th episode of our podcast. Feel free to listen if you would like to hear more about the movie itself and any plot points that you’re curious about or if you would like to hear our conversation that develops a variety of themes throughout.  I hope you enjoy thinking critically about the content! Feel free to comment, share any thoughts, or leave information on whatever movies you would like to hear about in the future!


Official plot summary: “Rising Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is blacklisted in the early 1950s Red Scare. Following a drunken car accident, he wakes with amnesia near the small town of Lawson, Calif., where the residents mistake him for Luke Trimble, a local boy declared missing in action during World War II. As Peter helps Luke’s father (Martin Landau) and high school sweetheart (Laurie Holden) reopen the town’s sole movie theater, questions arise about his true identity and motivations.

The Majestic is a movie that shows how our identity holds a lot of power, even if it’s placed in the wrong things. Nearly every example seems to revolve around the main character – this Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) – and the ways in which he responds to his environment.

To begin, we notice that Peter’s identity was falsely perceived to be a communist and it mobilized a government who persecuted those it scapegoated. This set a spotlight onto the ways in which the government had also built a false identity. Instead of being a government that stands for personal freedoms and the liberty that the Constitution demands, they overstepped massive boundaries.

When Peter’s identity was incorrectly perceived by the town of Lawson to be Luke Trimble, the people gained a false sense of hope and their celebration was misplaced. Luke was not actually alive. Their lost generation was not actually being restored back to them through the symbol of this young man. It was all a lie they sought so desperately to believe.

When Peter’s identity was as a shallow, selfish, and spineless screenwriter, he became the sell-out that was so similar to the other people he believed Hollywood to attract. Even in judgment, as he looked around at the crowd that he judged so harshly, he found himself falling into the same trap.

But when Peter’s identity was correctly placed and even strengthened through courage and conviction, it led to valuable change. It led to a beautiful conviction. It brought a more clear and true sense of joy and celebration. After experiencing purity and genuineness in this new life, it pushed him to a more mature sense of self and that changed the entire narrative.

If our identity is misplaced, there’s no doubt it can carry a lot of power. We see it all around us in so many arenas in life. But in its falsehood, it leads us into damaging places, even if it seems like the identity brings joy and happiness.

However, if our identity is accurate, it leads us to God and to the flourishing of our communities. It leads us to sacrificial love and selfless conviction. It leads us to our Savior who brings hope to each of us created in His image.

Galatians 2:20 NASB – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

What do you think? Are there consequences (whether good or bad) for each false-identity we seek to follow, whether that be in our achievements, experiences, community, profession, family, political affiliation, hobbies and interests, or any of a variety of personality traits and characteristics? Or might all of these things be activities that we do, people that we relate to, traits that we focus on, and groups that we agree with – things that describe us but don’t define us? Perhaps we are, each and every one of us created in the image of God and whether believers or non-believers, defined by the One who created us as worthy of love and precious to Him?

Genesis 1:27 CEB – God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.

2 Peter 3:9 MSG – God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.

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Love you all,

Pastor Evan McNeff

Behind the Silver Screen: The Majestic

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