Films for All Seasons: Experiencing the Church Year at the Movies, By Abby Olcese

Films for All Seasons

Experiencing the Church Year at the Movies

by Abby Olcese
Foreword by Josh Larsen

Films for All Seasons
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: October 15, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0784
  • ISBN: 9781514007846

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The Spiritual Practice of Watching Movies

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Easter movie? Pentecost movie? Casual viewers and movie buffs alike have favorite movies to watch at certain times of the year. But for film critic Abby Olcese, movies with spiritual themes aren't just limited to the holiday season. They’re part of a deep human need to connect our favorite stories to the natural rhythms of our lives, and to let them shape and give meaning to our experience of the seasons all year long.

The life of the church is also defined by stories, which we revisit through the pattern of the Christian year. In Films for All Seasons, Olcese invites us to reflect on the great themes of the church calendar through the lens of film. From superhero movies and Star Wars to classics and arthouse films, she chooses movies for each liturgical season and leads us through them with skill and infectious enthusiasm, exploring how each one can inform and deepen our appreciation of its corresponding season.

Films for All Seasons is more than just a book about movies—it's a model for how we engage with art as Christians.


  • Explorations of popular, classic, and arthouse films and how they relate to liturgical seasons
  • Reflections on the great themes of the church calendar
  • Discussion questions after each movie designed to facilitate discussion with small groups and friends

"In Films for All Seasons, Abby Olcese brings a sense of playfulness and thoughtfulness to the act of moviegoing through the lens of the Christian liturgical year. She makes the case for a connection between careful Bible study and what she refers to as a 'spiritually curious' approach to engaging with art and the world. In so doing, she provides a valuable resource for anyone who wants to apply their faith to other parts of their lives. Her approach to watching films has enriched my own."

Sarah Welch-Larson, author of Becoming Alien: The Beginning and End of Evil in Science Fiction's Most Idiosyncratic Film Franchise

"Abby Olcese has given us an invaluable gift: a book in which keen film insights and rich spiritual wisdom seem to flow to and from each other, feeding each other. It's more than just a terrific tool for anyone looking to use movies to enhance their understanding of Christianity. It's a life-changing study in using art to illuminate the steps of your spiritual journey."

Tyler Huckabee, writer of Clusterhuck

"This is a thoughtful and entertaining book about how popular culture can help readers connect to their faith in a fresh way. Abby Olcese thinks deeply and personally about movies that range from art films and classic cinema to action-packed blockbusters; and her insights and questions should spark some good conversations about the stories and rituals we keep coming back to year after year."

Noel Murray, coauthor of Lost: Back to the Island and Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Josh Larsen
Introduction: Why Watch Films as a Spiritual Practice?

1. Thoughts on Watching Devotionally

2. Hope: The Last Jedi
3. Faith: The Bishop's Wife
4. Joy: Paddington and Paddington 2
5. Peace: Joyeux Noel

6. War Is Over (If You Want It): Children of Men
7. "It's Love That Won": The Night of the Hunter

8. The Chosen One No One Expected: Shazam!
9. What Was I Made For?: Barbie

10. Ash Wednesday: Annihilation
11. Lent Week Two: The Dark Knight
12. Lent Week Three: Logan
13. Lent Week Four: Bad Times at the El Royale
14. Lent Week Five: Groundhog Day
15. Lent Week Six: Lucky

Holy Week
16. Maundy Thursday: The Mission
17. Good Friday: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
18. Holy Saturday: The Last Temptation of Christ

19. Reconsidering Edmund: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
20. Fear Kills, Love Resurrects: The Iron Giant

Ascension Day
21. A World Built on Top of Ours: Midnight Special
22. Making All Things New: Avatar

23. Imperfect Heroes for an Imperfect World: Guardians of the Galaxy
24. The Turbo-Charged Community of Faith: Fast & Furious 6

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
25. Narrow the Way: A Hidden Life
26. Chocolate Cake in Heaven: Dick Johnson Is Dead
27. A Vibrant and Complicated Legacy: Coco

Conclusion: Ordinary Time

Suggestions for Further Viewing


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Abby Olcese

Abby Olcese is a writer on film, popular culture, and faith. Her work has appeared at Think Christian, Sojourners, Paste,, and /Film. She is also the film editor for The Pitch, a website and magazine serving the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area. She lives in Kansas City.