The Washington Post

‘Noah’ finally debuts in theaters after lots of controversy. How accurate is it?

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in a scene from “Noah.” (Niko Tavernise/AP/Paramount Pictures)

After a long, bumpy journey, Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic “Noah” finally makes its premiere in theaters this weekend.

Given that the film has been upsetting religious groups since it started production due to its portrayal of the Bible story, it’s likely to spur even more controversy once people have, you know, actually seen the movie. (Though it has already been banned in several countries for its depiction of a prophet.) Star Russell Crowe, always a charmer, blames the negative buzz on people judging the film prematurely.

“We have endured 12 to 14 months of irrational criticism and now people are starting to see it and to realize how respectful it is, and how true to the source material it is and how intense of an experience it is in the movie theater,” Crowe told the AP.

So — how true to the source material is the highly-anticipated, $150 million film? Here’s a fact-check of some of the main elements in the film:

The epic Biblical tale of Noah's ark and the flood hits the silver screen in "Noah," starring Russell Crowe. Truth Teller takes a look at the studio's own behind-the-scenes promotional video to see what the movie gets right and wrong. (Julie Percha/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, many critics seem to be impressed by Aronofsky (“Requiem for a Dream,” “Black Swan”), some saying that the project indeed respects the biblical tale.

“The result is a movie that is clearly deeply respectful of its source material but also at times startlingly revisionist,” wrote The Post’s Ann Hornaday, “A go-for-broke throwback to Hollywood biblical epics of yore that combines grandeur and grace, as well as a generous dollop of goofy overstatement.” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times agrees, calls the film not only respectful but “reverential,” and “as much a fantasia inspired by the Old Testament as a literal retelling of that tale.”

Over at the Dallas Morning News, critic Chris Vognar says the film “breaks a story of cosmic dimensions into brutally human terms,” and that it isn’t afraid to go to dark. “Over the years, the public imagination has turned the tale of Noah’s Ark into a sort of childhood fable,” he writes. “It’s actually a story of apocalypse engineered by a God who decides he wants to wipe out mankind and start afresh.”

…And then there are others who call Aronofsky’s version of Noah an “environmentalist wacko” panicking over ancient global warming. But when controversy known to hurt the box office? Not often — and that’s really always the bottom line.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Don’t be ‘that’ sports parent | On Parenting
Miss Manners: The technology's changed, but the rules are the same
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
Kids share best advice from mom
Using Fitbit to help kids lose weight
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
Transgender swimmer now on Harvard men's team
Portland's most important meal of the day
Play Videos
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Emily Yahr · March 28, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.