By Laura BennettThursday 16 Apr 2020Hope Afternoons
As far as theology goes, The Healer isn’t exactly your Sunday morning sermon, but its feel-good tone and spiritual inclinations offer a nice online escape with a hint of wisdom.
Released a couple of years ago in the US, The Healer is new to Australian Netflix audiences and has already hit our top 10 with its story of down-on-his luck English repairman Alec Bailey (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
Moving out of town on the orders of his fed-up father, Alec discovers his ability to fix things goes beyond electrical equipment, to people. Those with ailments of all kinds from headaches to cancer come to Alec for healing after a misprint in the local paper. As a complete cynic who’s wary of God and the spiritual, he has to decide whether he’ll embrace what seems impossible, or reject his newfound gift.
The Healer doesn’t pretend to be a philosophical masterpiece — in fact, it’s very much in the vein of Bruce Almighty or Evan Almighty (minus the budget and comedic heavyweights). It’s there to entertain and please, and make you wonder what it might be like if elements of the Bible played out in a modern-day setting.
Alec embodies everyone who’s ever felt capable or, in fact, called to do more but resents the responsibility of their potential. When the townfolk realise what Alec can do, he lashes out at those who say he should put his gift to good use, and starts to wonder who this God is, who some believe gave him the gift.
His relationship to God is tense, and filled with the kind of questions and doubts that many viewers will resonate with. For starters, Alec’s not sure if God exists, but he also sees Him as distant and somewhat obnoxious. Alec also questions whether or not God would take his gift away if he doesn’t use it right: does he have to do something to deserve it?
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Where The Healer lands you can discover for yourself, but it brings to mind the Bible’s promise in Romans that God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. Regardless of what a Netflix movie may conclude, we can trust that God doesn’t take his gifts away. Like Alec, we may not want them or resent our need to choose whether or not to follow God’s call, but they’ll always be there when we decide to say ‘Yes’.
The Healer is on Netflix now. Rated PG.