Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Man Who Sued God (2001)

Genre: Comedy
Steve Myers (Billy Connolly) is an eccentric guy who drops out of society after losing his job, marriage and almost all his worldly possessions. He invests all his money in a yacht to start the simpler life of a fisherman. Conflict begins when he wakes up one day to find that his yacht has been struck by lightning. He files a claim with the insurance company, but the latter refuses on the ground that the boat’s destruction was an “act of God”. Finding that he wouldn’t stand a chance if he sues one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, he decides to sue the root of his problems – God, and names the Pope, the local bishop and a rabbi as respondents. God’s representatives face the dilemma of admitting that the destruction of Steve’s boat was actually God's act and compensate the former, or deny it and thereby deny God’s existence.

I forgot much of the film’s details because I saw it a loooong time ago in one of those Australian film fests held in UP Film Center, but the fresh concept and engaging humor made me remember it as I was reading an Insurance case (where the insurance company raised the defense of force majeure to escape liability under the insurance contract). Back to the movie. Much of the film’s brilliance comes from Billy Connolly’s portrayal of the ill-tempered hero, who, despite his eccentricities, easily attracts the audience’s sympathy. And why not, he is cleverly depicted as David who engages in a fight against society’s Goliaths -- the Church, the media and the legal system. The biggest joke, I think, is that Steve himself was a lawyer who gave up law because of his disappointment with the corruption afflicting the profession.

The movie tackles philosophical issues about God’s existence and his involvement in people’s lives and makes a case against greedy insurance companies who insure their profit more than their clients’ welfare.

Rating: 4 stars

For a real case against God, read the story below.

Prisoner sues God 

(from (

A Romanian prisoner is suing God for failing to save him from the Devil.

The inmate, named as Pavel M in media reports, accused God of "cheating, abuse and traffic of influence".

His complaint reads: "I, the undersigned Pavel M, currently jailed at Timisoara Penitentiary serving a 20 years sentence for murder, request legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people's interest, taking bribe and traffic of influence."

The inmate argued that his baptism was a contract between him and God who was supposed to keep the Devil away and keep him out of trouble.

He added: "God even claimed and received from me various goods and prayers in exchange for forgiveness and the promise that I would be rid of problems and have a better life. But on the contrary I was left in Devil's hands."

The complaint was sent to the Timisoara Court of Justice and forwarded to the prosecutor's office. But prosecutors said it would probably be dropped and they were unable to subpoena God to court.

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