Based on a best selling novel by Francine Rivers, the 1850’s in the Appalachian mountains is the setting for this film which focuses on Welsh immigrants and one of the customs/traditions which they brought with them. A tradition which not only bound a whole community but also (along with another major tragedy) young 10 year old ‘Cadi Forbes.’ (Excellently played by Liana Liberato – also known for ‘If I Stay’)
This is a story about guilt and (thankfully) the freedom through Christ from guilt which binds so deeply. And actually wasn’t a bad film at all.
To be honest, throughout this film I mainly found myself either a) being placed in mind of the TV series ‘Little House on The Prairie’ – not least of all because the principal character or Cadi Forbes really reminded me of either Laura or Mary Ingalls [I am not sure which]) or b) trying to work out what was going on with the accents.
But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy or appreciate the film. Because I really did. And neither is it to say that I was so distracted that I missed the film’s main messages. Which, in the opinion of this writer (and again I don’t wish to offer any spoilers by going into these too deeply), are freedom from guilt through Christ and also how old traditions and ways – which whilst being practised to offer freedom – may actually be part of he very thing which binds us.
The scenery in this film is stunning and the cinematography in of a good standard if not a little dated in its techniques and thus it’s presentation. (The scene in the image above being and excellent example of this, where it’s drama was – at least for this reviewer – somewhat reduced by obvious camera techniques.)
But then, perhaps I am being a little harsh and so – in the interest of fairness – I should perhaps remember (and thus point out) that this film was released in 2007 and in terms of Christian films, this was long before such things as; budgets, professionalism and access to equipment and resources for the making of Christian films were brought any where near op to par for the making of secular films. And certainly this comment/observation is not intended to take anything away from the work of the excellent director Michael Landon Jr. on this piece.
In truth I am of the opinion that it might be difficult for some younger viewers to connect with this film and to be excited or even challenged by it. But then this is probably more of a social observation on these times and I am not young myself and perhaps shouldn’t make such judgement calls. Plus, the fact that I am of a certain age and of European culture might well be influencing my perspective here. And certainly if you have a differing opinion of the film I would love to hear from you about your perspective of it.
Does it serve a purpose? Yes absolutely I believe it does. Is the message it carries important? Yes, here again, I would have to say yes. And actually it’s core message is as relevant, in my opinion, to a youngster in downtown New Orleans as it is to this 50 some year old Englishman living in a quaint little town in Ireland. The only question is that of being willing to hear via this film.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand where traditions and beliefs come from or even why they are followed or practised for so long. And I think that viewing them and considering them in the culture and time of when they were practised certainly does help with our understanding. But I also firmly believe that actually we too could easily have grown up with, or adopted, or bought into practises and traditions which are either unfounded, untrue or unhealthy.
Would I recommend this film to you? Yes I would, having now made the comments and observations above clear.
Written By: Brian Bird, Michael Landon Jr., (Francine Rivers)
Directed By: Michael Landon Jr.
Starring: Louise Fletcher, Henry Thomas, Liana Liberato.
Genre: Drama, Christian
Released: February 09th, 2007 (USA)
Runtime: 117 mins
Age Rating: PG-13
Violence: Limited but does include some child abuse
Controversial Language: Limited
Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None
Potentially Disturbing Scenes: Limited but does include some child abuse
For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 7/10 Highly Recommended. ††††††††††