Tenet - 2020
Age-appropriateness: Scenes of violence throughout (fighting and guns). Some language. Incredibly complicated plot.
Overview: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Themes: time, free will, honesty, war, trust, family, stealing, anger, despair
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Time. If you could go back and “re-do” anything from your past, what would you choose? How would you want that event to change?
Characters were able to use “temporal pincer movement”, which allowed them to go back in time and experience a moment over again.
2. Trust. Who is someone that you trust the most? Is there anyone in your life that you do not trust?
Neil showed gratitude to The Protagonist for trusting him. Andrei didn’t know whether or not he could trust his wife. The Protagonist didn’t always know who to trust. Trust is to believe that someone is honest and sincere.
3. Sacrifice. What’s the most sacrificial thing you’ve ever done for a friend? How much must Jesus love you, that He was willing to die for you?
The Protagonist chose to die instead of giving up his colleagues to the enemy. John 15:13 says, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus showed us how much He loved us by giving up His life for us on the cross.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. Throughout the movie, time inverted. The characters were able to live in a "reverse chronology”, where events occur backwards in time. What would you do if you could reverse time?
2. We experience events as they happen in time, with one event occurring after another. All of life’s events happen in order and we experience the events individually, one at a time. However, God experiences time very differently. God is beyond time, meaning that He knows everything that has ever happened, is happening, and will happen. And He’s able to experience all of that right now. That’s crazy! How does your view of God change, knowing how He experiences time?
3. Characters in the story are able to communicate with people from the future and from the past. If you could interact with one person from either the past of the future, who would you choose and why?
4. The Protagonist had to steal weapons-grade plutonium. Do you think it’s ever okay to take something that is not yours? God commanded to His people, in Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that was not yours? What made you want to do that?
5. Characters were able to use “temporal pincer movement”, which allowed them to go back in time and experience a moment over again. If you could go back and “re-do” anything from your past, what would you choose? How would you want that event to change?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:09 The Protagonist chose to die instead of giving up his colleagues to the enemy. John 15:13 says, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus showed us how much He loved us by giving up His life for us on the cross. What’s the most sacrificial thing you’ve ever done for a friend? How much must Jesus love you, that He was willing to die for you?
:16 The Protagonist learns that time can be inverted. He wonders if he still has free will, since events appear to have already occurred when he inverts certain materials. "Free will” refers to the ability to make up your own mind on how to behave. Proverbs 16:9 says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” God knows everything that will ever happen. At the same time, we can freely choose what to do, how to act, and what to think about. How much freedom do you feel you have when it comes to what you do and how you spend your time?
:30 Kat describes the difficultly with her family and the envy she now feels. Envy is wanting to have something that someone else has. James 3:16 says, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Why do you think envy leads to more bad things happening? Have you ever been envious of something that someone else had?
:48 Neil shows gratitude to The Protagonist for trusting him. Trust is to believe that someone is honest and sincere. Who is someone that you trust the most? Is there anyone in your life that you do not trust?
1:04 Andrei tells his wife, “If I can’t have you, no one can.” He threatens her. In what ways is their relationship unhealthy? How do you typically respond when someone is mistreating you?
1:27 The Protagonist lied in order to defeat Andrei and keep the bad guy from getting what he wanted. Is it ever okay to lie? Why or why not?
1:45 Neil says it’s their “policy to suppress”, to withhold crucial information from others because it's for their own good. Can you ever think of a time that it would be better not to tell something to someone?
2:12 The Protagonist tells Andrei that he "doesn’t believe in God or anything other than his own experience.” Andrei responds and says that he considers himself like a god. Ever since the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, man has always wanted to be like God. That’s the sinful desire in everyone’s hearts. The devil tempted Eve by telling her to eat a forbidden apple. The devil said, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In what ways do you see people trying to act like they are God? Have you ever made selfish decisions because you were acting as if you were God?
2:24 The Protagonist finds that he has “the real power to change the world”. While this movie isn’t based on a true story, Jesus and His followers actually did change the world. After Jesus died on the cross, nothing in the world was ever the same. In the book of Acts, we read that Jesus’ followers “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Because Jesus was willing to sacrifice His own life on the cross, our sins are now forgiven and the debt that we owe has been paid. Our entire lives are changed now that we have been saved by Jesus! And all we have to do is receive the free gift of grace that He offers. How has the world changed since Jesus died on the cross? How do Jesus’ actions 2,000 years ago, while He was on Earth, impact you today?