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Confessions to a counselor about Wonder Woman

Someone breaks your heart. Or you lose your job and you need guidance into a better future. You survive a violent childhood and suffer from PTSD. Or you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. You know where to go. You seek out a therapist, a counselor, a spiritual director.

But where do you go to sort out your feelings about this new Disney live-action Beauty and the Beast?

Photo by Laurie Sparham - © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

If you need to sort through your feelings about Beauty and the Beast, I’ve found two counselors for you.

If you’re like me, you seek out the company of wise and discerning counselors like Tara Owens (a moviegoer, a spiritual director, and the author of Embracing the Body) and Marcus Robinson (a songwriter and an associate pastor).

A few weeks ago, I found myself in their good company, in Owens’s Colorado Springs office, sinking into a comfortable chair as if I’d come seeking counsel. She closed her door and made sure that everybody knew: We were “IN SESSION” — “DO NOT DISTURB.” We were safe. We could share secrets, confess our moviegoing sins, and say what we really thought about summertime movies.

Let me explain: The Anselm Society — a community formed by a network of Colorado churches who are cultivating “a unique vision for the future of the Christian faith” — has a podcast called “Believe to See.” I was invited to join show hosts Robinson and Owens for a frank conversation about this summer’s big screen options. The result? We poured out our passion for, and our frustrations with, films like Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, Get Out, A Quiet Passion, The Fits, Timbuktu, and others. We laughed. A lot. We threw down challenges for moviegoers. We confessed our frustrations about “Christian movies.”

And we wrestled with a profound question: How shall we pronounce the name “Gal Gadot”?

I’m not just saying this: My time with Marcus and Tara was one of the best hours I’ve ever spent talking about movies. I was a grand time full of laughs, epiphanies, and insights. I’m grateful that they invited me into such a lively conversation.

And now you can listen to the whole thing:

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Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet

Novelist and critic Jeffrey Overstreet teaches writing (Seattle Pacific University) and film studies (Northwest University and Houston Baptist University). He's written a memoir of moviegoing and faith (Through a Screen Darkly, Baker, 2007) and a fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors (The Auralia Thread, Random House, 2007-11). He's worked since 2001 as a film critic and columnist at Christianity Today, and he's been a regular contributor to Image, Paste, and Christ & Pop Culture. His writing has been recognized by The New Yorker and The Seattle Times. He regularly speaks at universities, conferences, and churches in the U.S. and abroad. Want to invite him to teach or speak? Email joverstreet@gmail.com.