I feel very foolish right about now. Why? Because when I first saw ads for this movie, I thought that it was another wonderful abomination from Pure Flix. They are a film company that brought us such wonderful treasures as God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2, and Do You Believe. Christian propaganda films that are all SO terrible, but so much fun to watch. Terrible, but fun. I like that. Christian propaganda films are never good, but when they are bad, it is the most fun you’ll ever have. I haven’t had a good bad movie night in forever, and then I saw the preview. Terrible Christian movie? Check. Washed-up actress (Jennifer Garner) as the lead? Check. I didn’t stop to check who the production company was who made it. Just assumed. I really should have. I REALLY should have. This was painful. I am so eager to rip this movie a new one, so let’s get down to it.
The plot goes that this is based off a true story. Its one of THOSE movies. There is a Christian family who is wholesome as apple pie, and one of them gets sick. The film follows the mother and her journey of faith as her daughter goes from sick to insultingly-magical wellness through the power of Jeebus. Of course. And along the way, we get to see every last person who has any part in this have their own arc. Endless, endless arcs. I hate this movie. The plot is paint-by-numbers of Christian movies. Let’s talk about the specifics.
What you need to understand first is that this movie is supposed to be about Jennifer Garner’s character and her story going through this. And the second thing you need to know is that the worst thing in this movie is Jennifer Garner. I’m not even kidding. There is not a frame that she’s in where I don’t stop to think that this movie would be so much better without her in it.
Every one of the other characters is someone that I almost grow to like. You have the kid who is really sick, and I feel for that kid. Part of that is my own history of being in the hospital when I was young, and how I see a lot of myself in her. Then you have the doctor, who is really likeable and fun. Wish my neurosurgeon had been as much fun as that guy. You have the father, who starts out kinda douche-y, but over the course of the movie steps up and really becomes a good parents. He even has some subtle moments of showing how hard it is for him, working so hard and having so much struggle as the medical bills for their daughter keep piling up.
We then have Queen Latifah, who was in this movie for not nearly long enough. She brought some levity into this film! Given how depressing everything is, it’s nice to see someone who can actually make things fun. And funny. The lady is giving some really good lines that put a smile on my face.
There is also the fact that this film was able to bend some of the expectations I have. You have this guy who is supposed to be the strawman atheist. When I saw that character, I was groaning. Lemme guess, he’s going to confront her about her religion. And he does. But just when you think it’s going to give you some inspirational message of hope, the film actually does something unexpected – you have Jennifer Garner’s character being understanding. She’s having a crisis of faith. The two are connecting over a shared belief that faith isn’t what they or their families need.
For a while, about an hour of the film’s runtime, this movie was setting itself up to actually be pretty good. And then, in an instant, it all falls apart. You have this girl, who has an incurable condition that will one day kill her. She has this accident, that I won’t spoil…fuck it, I will spoil it. She falls three stories down! And lives! Not only that, but there is no broken bones. No concussion. No internal injuries. Hell, the doctors even say that there’s no bruising! It’s a miracle! No, really, that’s what it is. Why? Because her incurable condition is magically gone too! How amazing!
I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming. Maybe it was because this film felt so grounded in reality for so long that I got used to it being pretty normal. However, the last act of the film goes form pretty okay to a complete pile of shit in a millisecond. The film jumps off a cliff in the realm of unbelievable stupidity. But that’s not the worst! This film beats you over the head with reincorporation. Every single tiny detail of every little thing that is in these movies gets reincorporated later. No matter how superfluous, it all has to get wrapped up. The end of this movie is like the end of Return of the King in how many endings there are, just so we can have the movie bring every little point to a conclusion. This movie took me hostage!
This could go on for hours. The point is that there was a potentially good movie that could have been a really good study into the idea of faith and trial, ending in the little girl dying, but the mother coming to terms with her faith. Instead, it ends with a retarded-ass speech, and it still keeps going! This movie didn’t end! It was an hour and forty-nine minutes long, but it felt so much longer. There are no words. I hate this movie so much. It wasn’t so bad that it’s good. It’s just bad. And that’s all I can stand to say about this pile of shit.
3 out of 10