A Netflix Show Youth Workers and Parents Might Want to Watch

Posted on: 10/7/19 5:52 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Every once in a while a movie or TV show comes along that actually “gets” young people today or provides a glimpse at “how to reach them.”

Well, Netflix just released a series titled, Unbelievable, that literally took my breath away, on several levels.

First, I’m writing a book on social media right now and happen to be waist deep in research about predators (which sadly sometimes turns into sexual assault, rape, sex slavery, etc.). And this series is about rape victims.

Secondly, this series provides a picture-perfect example of how not to treat people who are victims of abuse, bullying, rape, etc. I mean perfectly! As in, I would actually make my youth ministry volunteers watch episode one and then episode two of this series, and then we’d all meet together and compare the two polar opposite ways we could treat those who are abused, assaulted, etc. and discuss what this looks like in the youth ministry world.

I’d do the same with parents of today’s teens. I’d tell them to watch this, at least the first two episodes and then discuss how the foster parents responded in the series, what went wrong and the correct way to respond. And yes, I’d warn them, “Even though this series is very responsible and doesn’t have any gratuitous nudity or eye-candy, it does show quick flash’s of a rape from the victim’s point of view. And yes, it’s difficult to step into this person’s shoes. That’s the point. And I’d watch it with my own 16 to 18-year-old girl.” It’s that good.

But the third element about this series that literally shocked me was the fact that one of the central characters was a pretty authentic believer…and the film-makers didn’t make her look like an idiot! Many of you remember a couple weeks ago when I blogged about a new series on Amazon Prime that made Christian’s look like imbeciles and I made the comment, “Random thought: Can you think of a moment when Hollywood actually portrayed a Christian in a positive light? Can you count the examples on more than one hand?”

Well this show actually portrays a couple believers in a positive light, even one of the main characters. She ain’t perfect, but she’s authentic and she’s blatantly a Christian. Pretty cool.

I warn you—episode one is difficult to watch. But 15 minutes into episode two you’ll be glad you actually sat through it without fast-forwarding.

The series stars Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, Kaitlyn Dever and a few others you’ll recognize.

Extremely well done!

Not for everyone. But if you have teenagers in your life…I strongly recommend it.

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