12 October 2015 | mark-631-841457
Not a bad movie and worth a view
The story of Chris Williams is a tough one to bring to the screen. A man loses his wife and three of his five children to a drunk driver. He's also the Bishop of the Mormon church and must reconcile his anguish with the Christian charge to forgive and rely upon Christ's atonement that Bishop Williams regularly teaches his members.
The writers do a nice job of slowly introducing the dilemma, building the life and loss of life through disjointed flashbacks and forwards that actually work in carefully involving the audience to come to the appropriate facts of his life and that of his children.
The acting is quite good and at times excellent, scenery effective, editing intelligent and music contributing.
Where the writers fall down is in their attempt to make a story about a Mormon bishop become an every Christian's story. If they had done the massacre in the Amish lands, would they have bent over backward to scrub the story of the Amishness of the story? No. But Mormons -- they're afraid the bigoted Baptists will reject the story if they dare mention Mormons. That could be true, but in doing their scrubbing they may have alienated the Mormon audience that could actually make them money.
Specifically they erred: 1. In keeping the inside of the church generic (that's fine), but cutting to the steeple to show it had a cross. Mormon churches are Christian but they don't have crosses. That was patronizing to the Baptists and demeaning to the Mormons (Not the cross which Mormons also revere as a sign of the crucifixion, but varying from the facts). 2. Having the mother distraught at the injustices for the "loss of three lives." That Mormon, Baptist or other Christian mother would have bemoaned the loss of 4 lives -- her dear daughter-in-law was nearly six months pregnant. That's caving in to the Planned Parenthood crowd. 3. Giving the convenience store clerk who is obviously from India, an Hispanic name. No, it is not unheard of for Alejandro (I don't recall it exactly and he's mysteriously not listed in the credits) or some Hispanic name, but it's enough of a dichotomy that you'd better explain it or give him a Raj name. 4. Instead of referring to the Bishop as a Bishop, they have the gall to have Bishop Chris Williams refer to himself as a preacher, something virtually no Bishop would ever say. 5. And here's the biggest boo-boo. It's a show about forgiveness, but Chris never tells the boy that he forgives him. 6. Maybe a bigger error, and again probably done to homogenize and sanitize the movie for bigger audiences, when Chris explains the importance of forgiveness and to Just Let Go, he never mentions what every Bishop would mention -- the Atonement. Christ paid for your sins and pain. Just Let Go and let the Atonement help you.
Still, it was a movie worth seeing, quite real and intense, but movie makers ought to first be true to the story and themselves.