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Bruce Almighty - Religious Meaning Analysis

Essay by   •  December 14, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  658 Words (3 Pages)  •  5,922 Views

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Bruce Almighty - Critical Analysis

Bruce Almighty is a movie full of religious meaning and symbolism. The central character of the novel - Bruce - begins the film as a selfish and ungrateful individual who detests the lack of progress in his life. Bruce's main problem is that he only sees what he does not have, rather than what he does. Throughout the novel, this is progressively displayed to him by both the love of his life, Grace, and the big man himself, God.

When Bruce loses his job and curses God for picking on him (comparing God to a mean kid sitting on an ant hill with a magnifying glass), he pushes his wife, Grace, away from him. Though she is his girlfriend, Grace also represents the opposite of Bruce's initial pessimistic mentality. After losing his job, Grace tells Bruce that he should be thankful that he is alright and that he still has his good health. Bruce responds negatively to this, telling her that he is "sick of his mediocre life." This is the first stage of the movie in which Bruce and Grace have conflicting views. Evidently, this is because they represent directly opposing themes; while Bruce represents dissatisfaction and anger, Grace thrives on happiness (which is why she seems to drift away from Bruce as he becomes more unhappy throughout the movie's course) as well as a sense of being content with and thankful for her current conditions.

God helps Bruce to realize that his unhappiness is not the result of his lack of progress, but rather the result of his dissatisfaction with his current lifestyle. God proves this to Bruce by giving him all of his powers. In doing so, Bruce sets out to correct his life - he (initially) makes his wife happy and achieves the position of anchor for his local news. Grace, however, drifts away from Bruce when she sees how self absorbed he is becoming; when she finds him kissing Susan Ortega, his co-anchor and a character that seems to represent temptation, she leaves him.

In what appears to be the climax of the movie, Bruce talks to God about what he really desires. When God asks Bruce what he wants as they pray together, Bruce replies that he wants Grace. Though the request clearly has a double meaning, Bruce comes back to consciousness in a hospital bed, where he is comforted by Grace, who then proceeds to mend her relationship with Bruce. At the end of this scene Bruce's words to God, "Okay, now you're just bragging" are incredibly significant. Bruce has simply had his life given back to him in the same condition it was before he ever encountered God in person, though now he sees it from a much more optimistic view - through God's (and Grace's) perspective.

Perhaps the most central religious symbol of the movie is the prayer beads. When Grace gives Bruce the prayer beads, he is reluctant to believe that they are important at all. However, once Bruce loses his

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