Noah the movie is no bedtime story

Darren Aronofsky

When we think about the story of Noah’s ark, cheerful images usually come to mind:  a benevolent Noah with a flowing white beard shepherding pairs of animals into a rustic wooden boat.

This is not the story that emerges in Darren Aronofsky’s apocalyptic new film, “Noah,” which opens nationwide on Friday, March 28. It spotlights a brooding Noah (Russell Crowe), a lonely righteous man living apart from hamlets of debauched, Sodom-like human enclaves.

Shot in starkly beautiful but barren landscape in Iceland, the film reveals Noah and his family as the sole vegetarians amid gorging meat-eaters who are ravaging the environment and each another. When Noah’s God-induced hallucinations begin, he envisions himself drowning in a sea infested with rotting corpses — both human and animal — and, after ingesting a psychedelic tea proffered by his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), he divines that he and his wife, along with their three sons and daughters-in-law, will enact God’s plan to destroy the wicked world.

Russell Crowe as Noah photos/courtesy paramount pictures

But first, they build a vast, rectangular ark, to house two of each animal species. Noah and his family achieve this Herculean endeavor with the help of hulking “Watchers” — fallen angels who have incurred God’s wrath by pitying and helping mankind following the expulsion from Eden. 

This article was reprinted from the L.A. Jewish Journal. To view the full story, visit


Naomi Pfefferman

L.A. Jewish Journal