This is an old (1995) movie that I saw for the first time recently. I will probably say this about every film that I write about.. But it was a beautiful picture of the Lord, in particular, His undying love for us.
The story is about a young man called Paul (Keanu Reeves) who returns from the war to reunite with his wife Betty (Debra Messing). Betty has decided that she longs and desires for material things and money. Betty persuades Paul to continue with this career forcing him to go to Sacramento. On the way, he meets Victoria Aragon (Angelica Aragon) whose Mexican family owns a vineyard. She is unmarried and pregnant with her professor’s child. Paul offers to stand in as her husband and then “abandon” her the next day.
Paul’s plan to slip away the following morning is derailed when Victoria’s grandfather encourages Paul to stay and help the family with the harvest. He and Victoria attempt to ignore the flame that is sparking between them. Paul’s righteousness prompts him to return back to his wife Betty and attempt to restore their marriage. When he returns home, he discovers Betty with another man. Their marriage is annulled and Paul returns to Victoria to ask for her hand in marriage.
When he returns, he is not welcomed by Victoria’s father. He is drunk and furious and attempts to fight Paul. The result of this is a disastrous fire which leads to the whole vineyard being burnt down. The whole ordeal sheds light to Victoria’s father – he realised his errors. Her father accepts Paul and with the “new root” the family begin to replant and rebuild their vineyard – with their newest family member Paul.
The trailer can be seen here
Okay, so I’ll jump right into the sighting of the Lord in this beautiful romantic film
Paul wrote to his wife Betty every single day whilst he was at war. This is a picture of how we, the church, the bride, are always on the Lord’s heart. He loves us, and He is communicating with us daily. He is telling us about His grand plan; He is sharing with us how much He loves us! Betty was only concerned with money and material “things.” We can get so caught up in the world system and our desire for material things that we can completely miss the fact that our bridegroom loves and adores us perfectly – just the way we are. And that in Him, we have everything that we will ever need!
Paul was an honourable husband, and in His love for his bride set off to Sacramento to sell chocolates. En route, he had his first encounter with Victoria, who we soon see should be his true “bride.” She was far from perfect. She was pregnant with another mans child, she was sick on him on the train, she ended up getting him kicked off of the bus because he defended her from two encroaching lustrous men. What a picture of our Lord. We are far from perfect, in fact, we are the opposite of perfect, yet He will defend us all day every day, no matter what our circumstance or situation!
Paul agreed to step in as Victoria’s husband so that she wouldn’t look bad in front of her family. This is a picture of the Lords first miracle (when he turned water into wine). The purpose of this miracle was to remove the shame from the groom in front of his guests. Similarly, Paul stepped in to remove Victoria’s shame from her family. Both of these examples are shadows of the reality that the Lord has ALREADY removed our shame! Hallelujah!
Everything that Victoria had to offer was a desire of Paul’s. He grew up in an orphanage, and longed desperately for a family. Victoria was carrying life inside of her and she was surrounded with her family members. He longed for a wife that loved and adored him as much as he loved her. He saw that he could have this with Victoria. But he was bound by the law of marriage. Betty is a picture of the Law and how the Law restricts us from loving the Lord freely. We were under the Law and it had to be removed in order that we could enter into a free relationship with Christ. This is just like Paul and Betty; they had to annul their marriage (remove the “Law”) in order for Victoria and Paul to be together.
Victoria’s father is a picture of the old man. He was extremely traditional and bound by his family traditions and roots. He demonstrated his “love” to his family by means of his works in the fields. This is a picture of the old covenant. We could not freely love the father, we had to perform rituals, sacrifices and above all, keep the Law in order to demonstrate our Love for Him. Paul frequently got into arguments with Victoria’s father pleading for her innocence. He says “I know that she is good and strong and deserves all the love this world has to give. Can’t you see that, how wonderful, how special she is?”…”She’s like the air to me” he also says “Why can’t you just love her? She’s so easy to love”. WOW. It’s like the Lord is talking about his perfect bride, declaring how she deserves His love, how He adores her and how He finds her so easy to love! It’s beautiful!! (See Ephesians 5:25).
The entire vineyard was grown from a single root that had been in the family since the beginning. This is a picture of how the Lord is our root and when we plant Him, our vineyard will grow. He produces the fruit and the wine which unites the family (His Church and Body) all we need to do is plant him deep within ourselves and allow Him to manifest and grow. The family come together to harvest the grapes. They help one another and it is a time for celebration. May the Lord be the vine that roots us and unites us! He himself is a massive cause for celebration.
The celebration of the harvest called for the grapes to be crushed in order to make wine. The grapes had to die in order for the family to produce the wine. Just like the Lord had to die so we could be made “new”. This is the point in the film where Victoria and Paul realize that they have strong feelings towards each other. But Paul couldn’t be with her because he was In the Law of Marriage.
His honour prompted him to return to Betty to try and work things out. On his way home, he catches a ride and the driver says to him “Welcome back to Earth”. The vineyard where Victoria’s family was from was like being “in the clouds”. It’s a picture of how the Lord came to Earth to abolish the Law. When Paul got home, Betty was with another man. They ended their marriage that day. This is such a powerful picture of how the Lord did everything in His power to restore His fallen bride back to Himself. He sent the flood, He tried prophets, He tried a king and He tried a temple. He then went all in and came Himself (Welcome back to Earth) and he physically fulfilled the Law. The only way that Paul could be with Victoria, was if he got rid of the old. (Betty is also a picture of the Old man)
Paul could finally be with Victoria – his “new” bride. This is a picture of how we were once in Betty (selfish, under the law, earthly desires, incapable of loving the Lord the way He loved us) but because of the work of the cross, we have become the perfect bride which is Victoria (the Church, free from the Law, only desires what He desires, returning His perfect Love back to Him).
When Paul returns to Victoria, her father (the old man) is highly opposed. The father and Paul get into a big fight; this is a picture of how the old man can be extremely resistant to change – he is truly stuck in his “old” ways. Her father throws his lantern which results in a massive fire that rips through the vineyard and destroys everything in its path. The vineyard stood as a symbol of their family’s history and it was destroyed overnight. Again, a powerful picture of how our entire history (in Adam) wad destroyed because of a single incident (the cross). The following day (a NEW day), Paul (Christ) walks through what’s left of the vineyard, the ashes and death, and finds the original vine that was planted. He pulls it out and finds that it still contains life.
The fire, which is a picture of death, brings Victoria’s father to his knees. His mindset of what it means to love his family is renewed and he begs his family to teach him how to love them, not through his works, but through his heart. What a picture of a renewed spirit. We no longer have to strive and work daily to earn His love – he gives it to us freely.
The family replants the root and Victoria’s grandfather says to Paul:
“This is the root of your life, the root of your family; you are bound to this land and to this family by commitment, by honour and by love”
Christ is the root – he is the root of our lives, of our family (spiritual family), He is the land to which we are bound to, and it is all through His commitment to us and ours to His, His incredible honour of sacrifice and most importantly by His LOVE.
Thank you Lord that you have crafted the most perfectly, beautiful Love story and that we are your Bride, your Victoria.