28 June 2010 | maricam
It's all about forgiveness
I haven't been this delighted with a movie in a long time. The script was smart, the topic timely and important, the message clear, and the visuals very watchable. It's a rare movie that I can give my own double thumbs up to and recommend to anyone of my acquaintance without added disclaimers about what might offend or annoy them. This is a movie about the value of forgiveness plain and simple (no pun intended).
The movie is based on the real life events that took place in Nickel Mine, Pennsylvania in 2006 when a gunman entered an Amish schoolhouse and shot ten school girls. The gunman then killed himself. The Amish community immediately reached out in love to the widow of the gunman.
As you can imagine Christian teachings are a core part of the plot but there is nothing preachy about this movie. It's not meant to be an evangelical tool like some movies such as the "Left Behind" series . As I said before, this movie is about forgiveness -- the "mechanics" of forgiveness if you will. What does forgiveness look like using the Christian model? How is it done? To whom is it extended? The movie addresses these questions and more.
One reason why I think this is one of the smartest scripts I've ever seen is the way these questions are presented. Nothing is sugar- coated. The hard questions are asked and the answers are not spoon-fed to us by writers trying to make their own private points but rather left be answered by each individual. Some answers are demonstrated for us by the players in the movie. Not everyone feels like they can forgive the killer and there are a wide variety of reasons given for this. For those who are determined to forgive we are given a glimpse at their inner struggle and the process they go through to reach the place where they can forgive and move on with their lives. It's made abundantly clear that forgiving people is not easy but is as vital to living as breathing.
Another reason the script is smart is because it doesn't insult my intelligence or feel it has to show and tell me everything. The murders themselves are alluded to but there isn't a drop of blood to be seen in this movie. Reading up on the actual events the crime scene was described as horrific -- there wasn't a surface inside the one room schoolhouse that was not covered in either blood or broken glass. We don't need to see these things to know how horrible the slaughter was and I appreciate that. The acting is good enough that we understand very clearly what these folks were facing.
For those looking for a factual retelling of the tragedy, this isn't it. A disclaimer at the beginning of the movie explains clearly that this is a fictionalized account based on a true story. It goes on to make clear that the main characters in the story, the Graber family, are completely fictional. The event is merely a vehicle to talk about forgiveness and the point is well made. This is not a documentary.
So, whether you're "religious" or not, the message of forgiveness is completely applicable to anyone's life and the world would be a better place if more people practiced the unconditional forgiveness we're shown in "Amish Grace".