is a depressed
Rocky Mountain township of fifteen or so
Tom Edison, Jr. is the son of the town's physician and this position
affords him the opportunity to be the town drift-about and would be
writer/philosopher. Tom has organized a series of town meetings or,
moral lectures. He has chosen acceptance as the topic of his
next lecture, believing the good folk of Dogville have difficulty with
acceptance, and he needs an illustration to prove his point. Enter
Grace Margaret Mulligan.
fleeing the evils of the big city, and more specifically her prior life
and association with the powerful gangsters of Georgetown whom she blames
for taking her father from her. The nature of Grace's association
with the gangsters of Georgetown, though significant, is only made clear
at the end of the movie. Suffice it to say, Grace has never worked a
day in her life and by her own self assessment, she considers herself
arrogant and has determined to teach herself humility. She could
never imagine how appropriate Dogville for this undertaking.
very next town meeting, Tom relays Grace's story to the townsfolk.
He then coaxes them into demonstrating that they are good people by giving
Grace shelter with no expectation of benefit in return. To show her
appreciation, Grace offers her labor to Dogville, one hour per day to each
household. With there being nothing in Dogville that needs being
done, her offer is accepted reluctantly and she is given only token tasks.
there are some interesting twists as Grace learns humility in Dogville.
She becomes secretly engaged to Tom. She is considered a thief by
Tom's father for Tom's theft from his father. She is identified in a
missing persons poster, only to later be identified as wanted for bank
robbery. The charity and token labor offered by the townsfolk turn
to veiled tolerance and servitude. She is considered a whore by the
wife of the man who rapes her. She is berated by the children she
responsible for the horrific acts inflicted on Grace and arranges a town
meeting for Grace to speak to the townsfolk to explain how their treatment
of her might not be their best demonstration of charity. On the
appointed day Grace tells her story without embellishment. But the
good folk of Dogville can only handle so much truth about themselves at a
time, and as Grace's tale of woe exceeds their buffer, resentment builds
within the hearts of citizens of Dogville and they ransom Grace to the
gangsters of Georgetown.
Grace for the ransom turns out to be the undoing for the people of
Dogville. Grace has been fleeing from her protector, so to speak,
and when she is found by him, she is granted the power to be forgiving.
And now that she has the power to be forgiving or not to be; she can
reward the good folk of Dogville according to their deeds--an
interesting choice for she who would teach herself humility.
And this is a good place of departure for Your Take. By the
unmerited favor of God, you and I have been spared the reward according to
our deeds. But would we be as forgiving to those who offend us?
Certainly we know that God expects us to forgive others as we have been
But forgiveness is so much easier said than done. With the best
intentions, it may still be difficult to forgive when treated as badly as
Grace was treated. What may help us here is realizing that Jesus was
treated so much worse, and God has forgiven us. Dare we risk
separation from God because we desire to avenge ourselves?
stars Nicole Kidman with a very significant cameo by James Caan. It is a
long movie, a slow 177 minutes, shot on a drawn-out stage setting. But the
ending makes it worthwhile. To order from Amazon, just click
Mark 11:25 (KJV) And when ye stand
praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also
which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasse
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither
will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.