Movie Review: Magic Mike


Magic Mike will be the first time I am reviewing a movie that I have not seen. I am reviewing the concept of the film (male strippers), I have seen the trailer, and have read several reviews and “making of” articles. I read in Entertainment Weekly that when Channing Tatum (who plays “Magic Mike”) was teaching his co-star how to do a routine, he said: “Grind your junk in her face.” That’s all I need to know. Porn is designed for one thing and one thing only: illicit titillation.

“If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart” –Jesus (Matthew 5:28). This of course, applies to women, too! Our inner world is real. Our thoughts are real behaviors, real interior actions. “The things that come out of the mouth proceed from the heart, and it is this that defiles a man.” –Jesus (Matthew 15:18). People say that “Jesus didn’t say much about sex.” Yes, but what he said was revolutionary: so revolutionary that we’ve chosen to just ignore it!

What else is an “occasion of sin” if not going to a movie like Magic Mike? What are our bodies doing, ladies, if we sit there drinking in the gyrating, barely-clothed images of gorgeous, buff male bodies?

But isn’t the naked human body beautiful? Why can’t we look at it and appreciate it? Yes! The human body is so beautiful that it should only be seen by one other person (in an erotic context) who is committed to us for life. To reveal one’s body is to “give” it. To look at it is to “receive” it. Or rather to give and receive the whole person.

Works of classical art (nudes), instead, “lead the viewer through the body to the whole personal mystery of man. In contact with such works, we do not feel pushed by their content toward ‘looking with lust,’…in some way we learn the spousal meaning of the body, which corresponds to…’purity of heart.’” –John Paul II

The tragedy of Magic Mike is that it’s a new low for the mainstreaming of soft porn. Channing Tatum, besides being an incredibly talented actor, has a huge teen/young adult following. And of course, they’ll all be watching Magic Mike. This film further legitimizes and normalizes stripping, exhibitionism, public nudity, hypersexuality, depersonalization, separating love and life, separating sex and love, the body as plaything. Magic Mike is just one more wake-up call to study, embrace, live and spread the Theology of the Body.


About Author

Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, an international congregation founded to communicate God's Word through the media. She is finishing her M.A. in Media Literacy Education; has a B.A. in theology and philosophy from St. John's University, NYC; studied screenwriting at UCLA and Act One, Hollywood; and holds a Certificate in Pastoral Youth Ministry. She is the movie reviewer for “The Catholic New World,” Chicago’s Archdiocesan newspaper. She is currently writing and producing a documentary on the life of Blessed James Alberione: Sr. Helena has been giving Media Literacy and Theology of the Body workshops to youth and adults all over the U.S. and Canada since the 90’s, and believes that media can be a primary tool for sharing God's love and salvation. Sr. Helena Burns, fsp Pauline Books & Media 172 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601 facebook: Helena Burns twitter: @SrHelenaBurns