There’s nothing complicated about Netflix: Just log on to the streaming site, click on a movie, TV series, or documentary from its vast library of choices, sit back, relax, and zone out for the next two hours. It’s mindless bliss that offers quality entertainment as well as a temporary escape from reality.
Yet once in a while, a movie character will have a profound effect on you. Maybe it’s something he or she said or did. Whatever it is, consider these four characters, both fiction and for real, as possible signs from God, who finds every opportunity to speak to us, even when we’re glued to Netflix. (Read: 6 Religious Titles You Need to Watch on Netflix This Lent)
Penguin Bloom Shows Us That We Are Always Capable of More
In the Netflix movie Penguin Bloom, Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts), who is partially paralyzed from a freak fall while vacationing in Thailand, finds the will to live in an injured magpie chick her children call Penguin. As Penguin gradually gets stronger, Sam is encouraged to get out of her depression and try kayaking. The 2020 drama is based on a true story.
Penguin’s purpose: to show us that life’s hurdles can dash our hopes— then make us capable of doing things we never dreamed possible.
Dr. Savraj Singh Teaches Us About the Beauty of Religions Other Than Our Own
In the 2016 Netflix drama A Family Man, Ryan (Maxwell Jenkins) is diagnosed with leukemia, and his attending physician is Dr. Singh (Anupam Kher), a man in a white lab coat, turban, and beard. During rounds, his young patient asks about his “hat.”
“I am a Sikh,” he tells Ryan. “My turban represents my constant devotion to my religion.” “A devout Sikh would protect with his own life the poor and the weak. If I could take your sickness on myself and away from you, I would.” (Read: A Look Into the Pope’s Relationship With World Leaders)
The tendency to regard our religion (or beliefs, or anything within our comfort zone) as better than others closes our minds to the beauty of the new and unfamiliar. The next time we encounter something or someone “different” or “foreign,” let’s hold off making opinions or conclusions. For all we know, they may turn out to be the blessings we had hoped for.
Norbert Everhardt Makes Us Rethink Our Definitions of Love and Commitment
In the 2018 Netflix drama What They Had, a family gets shaken after they find out that the woman of the household, Ruth Everhardt (Blythe Danner) has dementia. Her grown children (played by Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon) suggest putting her in a nursing home, but her husband Norbert (Robert Forster) won’t give up on her.
Out of love for his wife, Norbert would bolt out of the house whenever Ruth wanders off, dye her hair for her, and buy himself a Christmas gift— and then say it’s from her. “Love is commitment,” he tells his daughter during a heated argument. “You work at it.”
Remember these lines when you’re faced with a challenge involving someone you love. Whether it’s a health problem, financial woes, or a test of your vows you’re dealing with, are you willing to work at your commitment to love the way he does?
Dr. Devi Shetty Reminds Us to Be Generous With Our Blessings
The Surgeon’s Cut is a Netflix drama inspired by the real-life story of Dr. Devi Shetty, India’s preeminent cardiac surgeon who has treated thousands of children with life-threatening heart ailments. He even operated on Mother Teresa before serving as her personal physician in the last four years of her life.
Though the families of the patients he treats regard him with a god-like reverence, Dr. Shetty knows his role in life. “I feel I am an instrument in the hands of God and I do exactly what he wants me to do,” says the surgeon in Episode 4, “Heart & Soul.” (Read: 3 Social Media Apps You Should ‘Give up’ for the Holy Week)
He invites us to do the same— to do to others what you would have them to do to you, so to speak. In a letter to the 4,000 children he operated on in Kolkata, he writes, “Can you spare a few moments of your precious time for someone who needs it without expecting anything back in return?”