User Reviews (260)

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  • jim-3217916 March 2018
    I have gone to faith based movies before and always left for the most part unsatisfied. I can tell you this movie is different. You do not have to be Christian to understand and appreciate the story line. The movie is about forgiveness and hope and there is nothing wrong with that. The acting is well done, the story line is easy to follow and i must say there were more then a few times i got dust in my eyes and they watered. The song has touched millions and now the story will to. I heard it once said the song seems to never go away. Well there is a reason it never stops giving and the movie does not disappoint. I highly recommended this film.
  • A lot of Christians movie are badly acted and cheesy and this isn't one of them. This movie was well acted, had heart and had emotion. I love MercyMe and the song I Can Only Imagine and it's so great to see the story behind the song. I could relate to what Bart went through with his dad and I think a lot of people can relate to that. This movie had a really good message and I believe even non Christians will like it.
  • I enjoy a wide range of movie genres. I don't seek out Christian movies in particular. I knew from the trailer the basic premise of this film, however nothing more. I knew it would be a tear jerker, but it has much more substance and is a good film on its own merits. Good performances, Denis Quaid did a very good job. It's sad that Hollywood would not even take this film seriously because, well I'll digress, someone would take offense or argue about my because opinions and I'm not a keyboard warrior. It's worth seeing in the theater, just take a Kleenex or 12.
  • "I Can Only Imagine" was a funny, interesting, inspiring, and powerful true-story about the most popular Christian song of all time. It was lighthearted and funny when I needed an emotional break, but the message was strong. If you don't go because it is faith-based, you are missing out. If you grew up in the Amy Grant/Michael W. Smith era like I did...it will be a little nostalgic. Watching the band struggle in the early years reminded me of every kid I knew as a camp counselor at Camp Electric in Nashville. It made me smile. Dennis Quaid was impactful as the abusive father. It had something for everyone. I'll be going back next week with friends.
  • This movie was a fantastic telling of Bart's life and the beginning of MercyMe. Some scenes may be hard to watch because of the violence, but the redemption story that is told is beautiful. Highly recommend seeing this movie. Great acting, wonderful singing, and an amazing story.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is a certain dishonesty about a film biography that leaves out one of the pieces of the puzzle of a man's life. In the case of "I Can Only Imagine," we have a conventional portrait of a wife batterer and a child abuser in the figure of washed up football star Arthur Millard, resulting in years of anguish for his gifted son to try to come to terms with his dad.

    But the film does not tell us that Mr. Milliard was seriously injured when he was struck by a diesel truck while working for the Texas highway system. After awakening from an eight-week coma, the man was never the same, due to brain damage. The details about trauma to the temporal lobe and mood changes are touched upon in the bonus track of DVD of "I Can Only Imagine." But that part of the story is left out of the film itself.

    The background above is not intended to give the abusive father a free pass. But it does suggest that the film is a whitewash because it chooses not to offer the total picture of the Millard family. There is no doubt that young Bart Millard was a horribly abused child, but one with tremendous resourcefulness and survival skills.

    One of those skills was the childlike ability to imagine. The act of fantasizing removed the child from his terrifying environment. But it also sparked his creative energies, leading to accomplished work in sketching and, above all, in the expression of music. The music Bart loved was inspirational. It was also escapist, saving the child's sanity. It also culminated in the blockbuster song that is the title of this film.

    The film is also successful in dramatizing the power of forgiveness, as Bart's forgiveness of his dad relieved the debilitating incompleteness of his life. The story was well told and superbly performed by a gifted singer-actor. Another strong character development was the gravel-voiced manager who believed in Bart both as a singer and as a human being.

    But the one nagging criticism of this film remains: Why didn't the filmmakers reveal the truth about the father's accident? If Mr. Millard indeed had permanent brain damage, leading to violent behavior, then his transformation through Christianity into the man who could win back the love of his son was even more remarkable.

    Were the filmmakers wary that the focus of the film could shift too far afield from the son's hit record to the father's miraculous transformation? As the real Bart Millard observes in a brief sound byte, in the bonus track: "If the Gospel can change that dude, it change anybody."
  • shadnife16 March 2018
    I have listened to the song I Can Only Imagine probably thousands of times and after watching this it gave me a new understanding of forgiveness. I am going to be honest here and say I was in tears throughout this movie. This is definitely a must see and bring a tissue or two.
  • This movie is so moving and is an absolute must- see. The whole movie theatre was in tears from this touching story. So many messages of forgiveness, hope, inspiration, family, etc are shown, and you are sure to cry. This movie has changed my entire perspective on MercyMe's I Can Only Imagine, and it breathes life into the lyrics of the song. Grab some tissues and friends and go see it now! Your spirit will thank you.
  • My wife and I saw this on opening night, and it is truly an inspiring film. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but the acting is great, and the story is uplifting. Definitely would recommend this for anyone who wants a great story to unfold before their eyes.
  • This movie was so good that I HAD to review it. I have never had any other movie reach so far down into my soul. Truth is far deeper than fiction. This true story will grab ahold of your heart and soul and shake you to the core! Have you ever seen a 6'3" 280 lb giant man sobbing at a movie? I have. And I was sobbing right along with him. You will be SO glad you watched this movie
  • shermydee16 March 2018
    Emotional throughout. Best inspirational film since The Passion of Christ. The song touched many. I think the film will touch and change many more!
  • Strong message that entire family should see. I've loved this song since it came out years ago and to see the story behind it is as equally impressive well.... that's why I gave it top marks
  • Such a good story line, great acting and fantastic music. It was a tear jerker though.
  • I love this movie. This is the 1st song I heard when someone gave me this cd for Christmas. I was sold and for the last 20 years I follow Christ and Christian music.
  • nikkiashlee30 March 2018
    3/10
    Corny
    My mom liked this movie but overall I was disappointed at how corny it was. The transitions between the scenes were awkward and although it was based on a true story the plot was rather cheesy (too much fluff). I haven't seen many Christian movies but if this is the better of the bunch then that's pretty sad.
  • Great refreshing story. The reviewer who called it "drab"... srsly? Can we just look around at the experience people have in the theater? I haven't heard so much applause in the actual theater after the movie in a very long time. We need more family safe and redeeming stories like these. Or we can just continue with the sex, drugs, killings and then gasp again and again when yet one more mass killing takes place in our schools? Well, as for me, I'll choose your "drab movie"...thank you!
  • What a wonderful story about forgiveness and redemption.....believer or not, we all struggle with forgiving those who have hurt us but how beautiful it is when you can forgive and love those who has. I can only imagine is a movie that really speaks to the heart and spirit and is just a movie that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy....and in this day in age, we could all benefit from that! GO SEE IT.
  • beachy-3843116 March 2018
    Probably the best movie I have seen this year. I had heard Bart in an interview say this was his favorite song he has written (mine is "Even If"). I have seen Dennis Quaid in several movies, but this was his best. Cloris Leachman was there. And Nathan must love to watch this movie to see himself tall. I don't know if he was bald back then or not. But the stand-out was J. Michael Finley. He looked a little like Bart and had his smile down perfect. From what I could see in the credits he did his own singing. Beautiful! Now for the story. What a heart-wrenched. No wonder Bart write such powerful songs. This is a must see movie folks. We saw it during a matinee at a mega theater (20 screens), yes, I'm sure some of you have bigger, but that is big for us. The auditorium was almost full. I would estimate by the number of cars in the parking lot, that half of the people in the entire theater were in this movie. And the theater did not even have the title on the marquee. Shame! This is a must see movie.
  • I loved this movie and have loved the song. Some criticism from reviewers who think it's stacked by friends and family of the movie. Not me. It is my first review because I would love to see more movies like this. We went the first weekend for that reason...to show support where it matters in the industry...the box office. The movie was tough for my husband who grew up with an abusive father. Brought back memories he'd rather forget. However, he also said that the movie brought him to a new place of realizing. at 57 years old, he needs to let go of that past. Be warned. If you grew up in an abusive home, you will feel things even more deeply than those who didn't. No matter who you are, take Kleenex. The acting was great and the twist on how MercyMe owned this song was very encouraging. Great film!! So glad we went!
  • Just saw movie I Can Only Imagine. WOW. Best inspiring movie on forgiveness, Jesus changing lives, and amazing beauty out of what was so ugly that I have seen in a very, very long time. Tears throughout the movie. A real Save the World movie.
  • As a Christian, I am often conflicted with the movies our 'community' produces. Too often a beautiful story can be marred by a lack of quality writing, acting, and production.

    So I admit to feeling tense as I sat in the theater this morning watching I Can Only Imagine, with an expectation that some cringe-worthy line or delivery would happen at any moment. Happily, this story-in-film hits the trifecta: quality writing, quality acting, and quality production.

    It's not perfect. What film is?! But in a world where abuse happens all too often, here is a story of redemption, reconciliation, and hope, and it will impact anyone who sees it in a positive way. The worst of the abuse is spoke of, not acted out, making this a safe and inspiring movie choice for almost all ages. The faith of the main character is also portrayed in a subdued way--not with Bible-thumping or speeches.

    See it, regardless of your belief system. And bring Kleenex.
  • This movie pulled me into the story 100%. The first few minutes was sweet. The remaining had me glued. Quaids performance brought the best out of everyone. One of the best Christian movie to date other than Hacksaw Ridge.
  • This movie is interesting for me to review. If it weren't for Moviepass, I probably never would have seen it. But I'm glad I did, because it has a lot of interesting things to contemplate and discuss which couldn't/wouldn't really be discussed by me if I hadn't seen it.

    The directing seemed fine. The acting seemed fine. The story seemed fine. And those are most important for any movie.

    Prior to seeing the movie I listened to the song. Surprisingly, I couldn't recall ever hearing the song before hearing about this movie. And I used to listen to Christian music and regularly attended Church prior to college.

    As an atheist I obviously dislike the message and assertions of the song; Not because I'm a cynic as much as because I'm a realist. I want assertions to comply to evidence rather than pick evidence which complies to our emotionally preferred assertions. But it's more than the message of the song which I object toward. I don't particularly care for the aesthetics of the song. Although they're not terrible. I don't have very mainstream music taste, instead preferring music that's a bit quirky, instrumental centered and irreverent.

    Nevertheless, I'm reviewing a movie, and my movie taste is more mainstream. And I find it worth investigating the story of how this song came to be, seeing that it's had such a big cultural impact.

    Like every film based on a true story, I wonder how many liberties were taken with the retelling. Although I have experience with the Christian mindset, I had no specific knowledge of the specific accounts of this story.

    I'm guessing there were small typical embellishments. Some of the scenes seemed somewhat tailored to create a formulaic movie narrative. I have more issue with tailoring reality than a movie having a formulaic plot.

    One example: The events which led Bart to return to his father seemed difficult to believe happened exactly that way. I'd hazard a guess that in real life this transition happened more gradually or with different factors playing different degrees of importance. But overall there was nothing that seemed significantly outside the ordinary for a movie story. If there were major revisions to the story, it's a testament to the execution of the movie and my lack of former information that I couldn't detect them.

    What was much more noticeable was that the last third of the movie seemed to be a slower pace than I'd prefer. The first part leading up to his band's audition in Nashville seemed nicely paced, It was the rest which seemed a bit slower than ideal.

    One of the strengths of this film to me is that its focused on telling the story of a band member and his path to creating his well known song. His faith was obviously a component since he's a Christian musician. But the movie isn't a propaganda piece for Christianity, despite what many lovers and haters of the film have said.

    It's intention is telling a good story. And if it led or leads people to Christianity, so be it. Islam is a major part of The Kite Runner, but the point of the film isn't to make viewers convert to Islam. Although it probably did just that for some people. I can only imagine is similar except, unlike The Kite Runner, it's based on a true story. I think fellow religious and Christian skeptics are mistaken when they review this movie as a Christian propaganda piece. It seems to more accurately speak of some inner hatred toward Christianity or religion than a fair assessment of the movie.

    Of course there were certain exchanges in the film in which I found irritating. For instance Bart's astonishment of how much God's rehabilitated his father late in his life. Does God get credit for the father beating his son and wife earlier in the story? No. But the character thinking this way was believable indoctrinated thinking for a religious character.

    Typical Christian thinking is wanting to have something both ways depending on the circumstance. Religious faith is littered with contradictions of opinion related to God's agenda or intentions. One moment God gives us a more true knowledge than anything else. The next moment it's essential for God to keep us ignorant. One moment God is virtuous. The next moment God is killing thousands in a flood. God is ever-present and loving one moment, and neglectful and mysterious the next.

    The narrative for the God's agenda always hedges toward his presence being real, and conveniently, the assertions of his intentions are usually made after the facts or narrative has already been asserted or established rather than prior. If a former religious belief is disproved with science, it becomes a metaphorical piece of the religion. And if a prayer ever goes unanswered, the explanation is that God is mysterious, or lets bad things happen to bring people to him.

    But with my mini rant aside, the film has an interesting story. It's better crafted than some other movies I've seen recently like Isle of Dogs or The Florida Project. I might be an atheist, but that doesn't make me obliged to like a film like Sausage party more than a film like I Can Only Imagine. For the record, I like I Can Only Imagine more.

    During the film I didn't cry like many people, although certain moments struck me as sad and touching. It seems to me the important thing is to remain investing in better understanding life and enjoying the ride.

    I disagree with Christianity, but I find this film worth seeing and thinking about. Especially if one isn't Christian. And if one is Christian, I especially recommend checking out a film like Inherit the Wind or The Man from Earth. Not because those movies are about atheism, but because like this film, they're good movies except with atheism playing a part in the stories.

    Too often we decide that because there's a component to a story that conflicts with one's religion or group, that there's nothing of use in the story. That's a path to people being more hostile and unreasonable to one another than necessary. Whether we like it or not, we have to live with one another, and we're better suited to do so if we understand one another.
  • A story with telling, and it was told very well- not overdone, not overly sappy like some movies can be (over orchestrating the sentiment and making it less effective as result)- No, this movie was very well done and I highly recommend it! Might be hard for kids under the age of 12 due to the abuse, but the story of redemption is fantastic!
  • "I Can Only Imagine" (PG, 1:50) is a dramatization of the creation of the all-time most popular contemporary Christian song, after which the film is named. The story follows the rise of MercyMe, the group which made the song famous, focusing on the life of lead singer Bret Millard, who wrote the song as his way of healing from his abusive childhood. Yes, this is a Christian movie, but it's also much more.

    Newcomer J. Michael Finley (looking like a young Seth Rogen) stars as the adult Bret (with Brody Rose playing Bret as a child), a man trying to get past... well, his past. We see Bret as an only child being raised by a verbally and physically abusive father named Arthur (Dennis Quaid). Bret becomes a high school football player, like his father, trying for gridiron glory which eluded the elder Millard. But Brett's plans change and he accidentally discovers a talent and love for singing as a member of his school's glee club.

    As Bret pursues his new dream, he distances himself from his father, but also ends up throwing away his relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Shannon (Madeline Carroll as an adult, Taegen Burns as a child). After joining the musicians who become MercyMe, Bret and company go through the usual growing pains of young musicians, even after veteran music producer Scott Brickell (Trace Adkins) takes the group under his wing. Even as they make original music and go on tour, it seems what they really need to take them to the next level is more truth in their music, songs which come from their hearts.

    "I Can Only Imagine" effectively speaks to Movie Fans on several different levels. It's a story about Christian musicians which doesn't preach, but simply shows how the faith of these men affected their lives and their music. Co-directors Andrew and Jon Erwin also make this movie a story about redemption and second chances, pursuing your dreams, and rising above your circumstances, all presented in a way that most Movie Fans can relate to, religious and non-religious alike. The movie even manages some surprises, framing the story in the context of a conversation about the famous song between Bret and a woman whose significance to the story is not revealed until late in the film. To all this, add a cast that is solid from top to bottom, mixing the talents of actors with widely varying levels of acting experience, and what we have is a very entertaining and impactful motion picture. How anyone could make a Christian movie that is likely to please its core constituency, while having equal appeal to a broader audience... well, I can only imagine. "A-"
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