This month's featured film is Splendor in the Grass, the story of two young lovers whose relationship is destroyed by sin. It is for this reason one of the most heartbreaking stories of all time. As you watch the mistakes made on both sides, consider how your own behavior in your courtship or marriage is affected by sin.
Year: 1961 (Not Rated)
William Inge (writer), Elia Kazan (director)
Starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in his first film role
Setting: Southern Kansas, 1928 (just prior to the Great Depression)
Won 1962 Oscar for best screenplay and best actress (Natalie Wood)
Content warning: Some scenes contain intense kissing and several references to fornication. One scene features showgirls in revealing costumes.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Dating without accountability. Even when two people are sincerely in love, emotions that are not kept under control can result in heartbreak should the spoken intentions never come to fruition. Bud and Deenie's hearts were so emotionally intertwined, the pain resulting from the end of their relationship could be comparable to that of a divorce.
2. The goodness of marriage. If God brings someone special into your life and there is no good reason to postpone the union, the Bible encourages you to marry (1 Corinthians 7). Had Bud not postponed his desire to marry Deenie, the hope and promise of being able to eventually consummate the relationship with Deenie may have helped him resist temptation.
3. The pain of sin. This story is about two single people, however married viewers can see how important it is to remain faithful to their sexual commitment, else they be tempted outside the marriage. Sexual desire leads to sexual sin. Sin is a threat to relationships.
4. The power of love. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. In spite of the pain Bud caused her, Deenie still loves him. In spite of his pride, and in spite of the fear that he no longer deserves her, Bud still loves Deenie and is heartbroken over having hurt her.
5. The plans of man. The Bible says that in his heart, man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Sometimes we can do everything according to God's laws, but that doesn't guarantee things will always go the way we want them to. We can become confused and question God's goodness when our choice to do the right thing results in pain and heartbreak. (The bathtub scene where Deenie says, "I'm a good little, good little, good little girl!" is gut-wrenching.) But it is important to remember that God is always good, no matter what happens.
The film's title comes from William Wordsworth's poem "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood":
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
Want a preview? Here is the original trailer of this classic film: