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127 Hours Christian Review

127 Hours is a true-life account of Aron Ralston, convincingly played by James Franco, a hiker who ended up amputating his own arm after it was trapped under a boulder.

The film opens with Aron on his way to a hike in the canyons of Utah. All is well until he slips inside a crevasse and a huge boulder lands on his right arm, pinning him against the wall of the canyon. Try as he might, Aron is unable to budge his arm or the rock. Utterly trapped with seemingly no way out, he rations his limited food and water supply and tries every conceivable means of escape. Aron’s emotions run the gamut, leading to the inevitable, graphic amputation of his arm.

But 127 Hours is not simply a story of physical survival. The underlying theme is about one man’s introspective examination of his past, present and future life, reminiscent of a self-guided Dickensian education plot.

The director, Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), illustrates Aron’s reflections through flashbacks, dreams and hallucinations. The boulder is depicted, not just as an antagonistic physical threat, but also as a metaphorical opportunity for life change. At the emotional climax of the film Aron says, “This rock has been waiting for me my entire life.” Through his experiences, Aron gains a new understanding and appreciation of his life.

The film conveys spiritual messages for all of us. We have choices to make when the quality of our lives is threatened by pressures out of our control. We can become myopic and blame God or we can view our threats as opportunities to learn from and move forward with richer, more faithful perspectives.

127 Hours also teaches gratitude for God’s involvement in our lives. When Aron frees himself from the rock, he looks up to the sky and says, “Thank you.” This poignant statement demonstrates Aron’s abandonment of his selfish nature and acknowledges his surrender to a higher power. His recognition is a lesson for us—not to rely on ourselves but to depend upon God when we face immovable boulders in our lives.

Hopefully we won’t have to be trapped under a rock to appreciate the opportunities God gives us.

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