Luther – Movie Review

The movie Luther was an interesting portrayal of Martin Luther’s creation of the 95 theses and the Protestant Reformation. When the movie began everyone was disappointed because of the fact that he was not able to deliver a flawless mass may mean that God is not with you. Luther then visits Rome which he describes as a circus because he states everything is for sale including salvation. Salvation was sold through indulgences, one would pay a certain amount in order to ensure salvation for either themselves or their loved ones. Indulgences were a comfort to people because it supposedly took away the possibility of purgatory regardless of sin. Luther always hated the idea of indulgences. As a student he was always questioning everything that was taught and as a professor he gave controversial and stimulating lectures. A good example of Luther’s “defiance” against the church is when a child commits suicide and Luther insists on burying him in the cemetery regardless if it’s not allowed. It wasn’t allowed because suicide is considered a sin therefore you cannot be buried on sacred ground. Throughout the beginning of the movie we also see Luther question himself and his relationship with God but throughout the movie we see him find the “merciful” and loving God he was looking for  through his devotion to his faith and the sacred text. Luther believes that through right faith one can find salvation. The sale of indulgences goes against that. Indulgences were important for the church because it funded their endeavors including the construction of new fancy churches. As a result, Luther wrote the 95 theses where he outlines why indulgences are wrong and also discusses forgiveness through devotion to the Bible and one’s faith. Ultimately, it was not beneficial for the church for his writings to be published. He was asked to revoke them and Luther refused. Through the invention of the printing press Luther’s message spread quickly. He also was responsible for writing the Bible in German which meant the bible was now in the vernacular. People were now able to read and interpret the Bible themselves and did not need clergy to do it for them. Luther’s 95 theses were revolutionary but he was never against the church, simply against the corruption that had embodied it. Personally, I have always found the Protestant Reformation to be one of the most fascinating moments in history and I think this movie did a great job of depicting it.

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