“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
- Andy Dufresne
When it came to selecting the initial work of art worthy of a Cāny award, there was no question where we had to begin: The Shawshank Redemption. This movie with the obscure, confusing name was largely overlooked when it was initially released in the theaters in 1994, but as people discovered it on DVD in subsequent years, it has emerged as an unqualified masterpiece. In fact, for several years now, it has topped the Top 100 Films chart at IMDB.com, edging out other classics, such as The Godfather and Casablanca. I am convinced that the principle reason why Shawshank remains a beloved film for so many is because of the way God’s hope and redemption are revealed in the film. (Think I am exagerating? Check out “Hope Springs Eternal” article from UK newspaper The Guardian.)
The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a 30-year-old banker who is sentenced to life in prison after being wrongfully convicted of committing a double murder. Given that the “prison movie” spends much of its time on Andy’s life inside a drab and colorless home of cement and granite, one might think the film would be a downer. Yet when you watch the credits roll at the film’s end, the dreariness of the prison is the last thing on your mind. Instead, the overarching theme of The Shawshank Redemption is one of hope and redemption.
Writing to his friend, Andy says, “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Doesn’t that sound exactly like something that Jesus would tell his disciples? Or Paul as an encouragement to Timothy? The pages of the New Testament cry out with this same message— that a steadfast hope in Jesus Christ will be worth it in the end, regardless of how difficult things are in the short run.