Finding meaning in ‘Signs.’

I’m not much for thrillers or horror movies. However, when it comes to M. Night Shyamalan’s suspenseful and plot-twisting films, I’m always game.

In light of The 5th Wave’s recent release to theaters, I decided to touch on one of my personal favorite alien movies—and no, it isn’t War of the Worlds.

Shyamalan’s Signs hit theaters in the early 2000s, but it has remained one of my favorite films to date. Although I appreciate many of his other popular (and not so popular) films—The Village, Lady in the Water, The Sixth Sense—Signs has always stuck out to me as being one of his most religious, impactful films.

Mel Gibson stars as former priest, Graham Hess, a man whose life is turned upside down once his wife is killed in a tragic accident. This causes him to lose both his faith and his hope.

After the accident, Graham, with the help of his younger brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), is left to care for his two children, Morgan and Bo.

Throughout the film, the characters discover that the world is being watched and inhabited by extraterrestrial beings. Everything slowly turns to chaos and panic, and Graham and his family prepare for the aliens to invade earth. And for this small-town family, the effects of this turmoil take an even greater toll on their already shaken household.

The heart of this grim film is more than just the power of a loving family and their test of survival. Instead, the concept of ‘signs’ plays a key role—thus the title. At one point, Graham asks his brother,

“See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”

After his wife’s death, Graham can’t believe that miracles happen. But, for anyone who watches the film, they will find that he is indeed proven wrong. Maybe, just maybe, there really are no coincidences. And maybe God really does give us signs. We just need to look.

-Ruthie F.


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