Warm Bodies: the best zombie film about authentic love
By Focus on the Family
Zombie films are a lot of things, but, until I watched the recently released Warm Bodies, I never imagined I'd see one that provided such an amazingly profound treatise on the human condition and our need for authentic love.
The film, which is a zom rom com (zombie romantic comedy), is told from the perspective of 'R', a zombie who desperately wants to be freed from the shackles of his mindless zombie existence - cue the first metaphor: zombies are human beings trapped in a meaningless existence because they don't know authentic love.
The zombies in Warm Bodies are human beings going through the motions of their daily existence without any meaningful human connection (there's a great moment of social commentary where R has a flashback to life before the zombie apocalypse, and all of his zombie pals are wandering around ignoring each other as they talk or browse the Internet on their cellphones and laptops).
Their only break from this monotonous and loveless existence comes when bouts of 'hunger' drive them into the city to try and find other human beings to feed on, in order to gratify their urges - cue the second metaphor: the zombie plague is lust.
Unlike authentic love, which is other-focused, and which seeks the good of another, lust is self-obsessed, and merely interested in using other human persons, consuming them without any regard for their profound dignity and worth, in order to try and satiate some urge that has overtaken us.
Then there are the 'Bonies' - the zombies who have given themselves completely over to their urges, and who are now transformed into evil monsters who are constantly obsessed and addicted to destroying all living human persons - cue the next metaphor: evil is the absence of authentic love (how very Augustinian).
But things all begin to change for R when he encounters Julie and he begins to form an authentic connection with another human person (yes, there is a whole 'Romeo and Juliet' thing going on here - complete with a cleverly crafted balcony scene later in the movie).
This sends him on a journey of profound transformation from a hedonistic self-seeking zombie into a truly loving human being, focused on seeking the good of another (Aristotle would be proud).
The final act which completes this transformation of R and restores him back to his former human state, finally curing him of the zombie disease, is unmistakably religious in nature.
R and and Julie are running from an attacking horde of Bonies when they find themselves trapped and cornered in the darkness, with only one way out: a solitary door which opens out into the bright sunlight.
But there's just one catch, they need to jump from a great height into a shallow pool of water (ahem... about the same depth as a baptismal pool... ahem) in order to find their salvation.
R takes Julie and wraps himself around her, ensuring that he is the one to land first, cushioning her landing as they make their hope-filled leap for safety.
They land in the pool of water, Julie is fine, but R sinks to the bottom, dead. Then moments later he rises to the surface, made new, fully human and truly alive for the first time since death had overtaken him.
The parallels to Christian baptism are just too many to be coincidence: a person trapped in darkness, pursued by the forces of evil, and who is cursed by the stain of death must choose to lay down his own life in order to save it. When he does this he arises from the water into a new life - a life that is truly real and truly 'life to the fullest'.
In an age that has been captured by pornography, lust and an endless search for meaning, Warm Bodies offers a profoundly important message: authentic self-sacrificial love changes everything and offers us a way out of the darkness.