Last night, a few of us went to an outdoor movie at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
We arrived about three hours before the movie started, and after an evening of eating, drinking, and being merry, we settled in for a 9:30 showing of North by Northwest, an Alfred Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Eva Saint Marie.
[SPOILER ALERT: I do reveal the ending ahead. Consider yourself warned.]
As you would expect in a Hitchcock flick, there were plenty of twists and turns from the start. It was my first time to see the movie, so I worked hard to stay awake and attentive to all the details, knowing they would all be significant.
But within minutes of the leading lady’s appearance on the screen, I predicted that she was the undercover CIA agent who was being concealed according to the plot. Her initial role made her out to be an ally of Cary Grant. Since that would be too obvious, my friend predicted that she was working for the bad guys. I suggested my alternate undercover CIA theory.
Shortly after, a strange look on Eva Saint Marie’s face, then a phone call she made to the kidnapper suggested my friend’s prediction was right. But I was still holding out on my own theory.
“I think that working for the bad guys is her CIA cover story,” I whispered, trying not to ruin the movie for everyone.
As the movie came to an end, Cary Grant saved Eva Saint Marie from falling to her death off of Mount Rushmore after discovering that the woman he thought had betrayed him was indeed the agent he was trying to protect. The audience cheered. I was amazed. How could predicting the end of a Hitchcock film be so easy?
When a friend hinted that Alfred Hitchcock might not be the king of suspense after all if I was so easily able to decode his plot, I had to admit that it really wasn’t my skills at solving mysteries that had helped me. It was my sense of romance.
“Cary Grant always gets the lady,” I told her. “I just had to figure out a plot line that would allow the two of them to get together in the end.”
There’s something reassuring about the way Hollywood movies end. Though they don’t always represent the way things go in my life, there’s such hopefulness, such confidence.
There’s also something kind of heavenly about those endings. Literally.
Though the comparison may be a little sacrilegious, I don’t have to stretch my imagination too far to see how Jesus is a lot like Cary Grant. No matter how many twists and turns, despite the betrayal and the treachery, in the end, Jesus will get the girl–his leading lady, the church.
Today, I am filled with gratitude that this world has an ending I can predict.
Jesus wins, He gets the Bride, and they live happily ever after.