Noah is a 2014 American epic biblical drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ari Handel. Inspired by the biblical story of Noah’s Ark from the Book of Genesis, it stars Russell Crowe as Noah, along with Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Anthony Hopkins.
The film was released in North American theaters on March 28, 2014, in 2D and IMAX, while a version converted to 3D and IMAX 3D was released in several other countries. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed over $362 million worldwide, making it Aronofsky’s highest-grossing film to date.
Although it received praise for its direction and acting, the film also generated controversy for its perceived environmentalist political messages and extensive use of non-biblical sources for inspiration, such as the Book of Enoch. It was denied release in China for (according to an anonymous source) “religion-related reasons”, and was banned in several Muslim countries due to its depiction of prophets venerated in Islam.
As a boy, Noah sees his father, Lamech, killed by a young king named Tubal-cain. As an adult, Noah lives with his wife, Naameh, and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He witnesses a flower grow instantly from the ground and dreams of a great flood, so he takes his family to consult with his grandfather, Methuselah. On the way, they come across a group of recently-killed people and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. She is treated for an abdominal wound, but Naameh determines she will be unable to have children. The group is chased by the murderers and escapes into the land of the Watchers, fallen angels that were left stranded on Earth as stone creatures after they descended from Heaven to help Adam and Eve when the pair was banished from the Garden of Eden.
Methuselah helps Noah understand his visions and gives him a seed from Eden, which he plants nearby. The Watchers arrive the next morning and, while they debate whether to help Noah build his ark, water spouts from where Noah planted the seed and a mature forest pops up around them. The Watchers are convinced Noah is serving the Creator.
Years later, Tubal-cain notices a huge flock of birds flying to the almost-completed ark and leads his followers to confront Noah, who defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. When the Watchers form a defensive circle, Tubal-cain retreats and begins to build weapons to take the ark. More species of animals come to the ark and are sedated with incense.
With Ila in love with Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth, but, after witnessing the settlers’ cruel and shameless behavior, he abandons his effort, as he now believes the Creator does not want humans to be part of the world once he and his family get the animals reestablished after the flood. Devastated by the idea of being alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider and, when he will not, goes to Methuselah for help. The old man cures Ila’s infertility, while Ham befriends a refugee named Na’el.
When the rain begins, Tubal-cain incites his followers to storm the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest, but leaves Na’el, who is stuck in an animal trap, to be trampled to death. His family enters the ark, except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers hold off Tubal-cain’s army, sacrificing themselves and ascending back to heaven. Tubal-cain slips onto the ark and solicits help from Ham, playing on the boy’s anger toward Noah.
Ila discovers she is pregnant and tells Noah. He pleads with God to not make him kill the child. The rains stop, and he tells his family that, if the baby is a girl, he will kill her to ensure the future will be uncorrupted by humans.
Nine months later, Ila goes into labor as she and Shem are about to leave the ark on a raft. Naameh begs Noah to spare the child so they will stay, but, instead, he burns the raft. Ham interrupts to tell Noah the beasts are awake and eating each other, which is a ruse so Tubal-cain can attack Noah. While they fight, Ila gives birth to twin girls and the ark hits a mountaintop. Shem attacks his father and Tubal-cain is about to strike Noah with a rock, but Ham kills Tubal-cain with a dagger. Noah finds Ila, intending to kill the babies, but spares them because he finds nothing but love in his heart when he sees his granddaughters.
Upon exiting the ark, a shameful Noah, thinking he has failed the Creator, goes into isolation in a cave and makes wine to drown his sorrows. Ham, after witnessing his father’s unseemly and naked drunkenness, leaves to travel alone. Reconciling with his remaining family at the behest of Ila, Noah charges his progeny with caring for the world and tells them to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” after which they witness intense waves of rainbows.
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