I came across this film purely by accident. But I have to tell you that I am so glad and was so blessed to have done so.
Especially since it was only released on June 5th of this year.
It is a film which is based on true events and for those who, like me, – living in Ireland and not the USA – are not familiar with the story. Cokeville in Wyoming, USA is where – on May 16th 1986 former town Marshall David Young and his wife Doris took (I believe it was some) 136 children and 18 adults hostage within their elementary school.
And that much I can safely share with you because it is – for many Americans – a well known incident. And, as far as I can tell, one which gripped many people as the intense scenes played out at the time.
And this film – The Cokeville Miracles – plays out a recreation not only of those scenes but also some wonderful and – let’s be honest here – very inexplicable (especially if you are a person who struggles to believe in God and Christ) happenings.
The film itself is – and I choose my words very carefully here – ‘nothing sensational’. And there within lies much of it’s power and its witness. For unlike a lot of movies of this type it doesn’t seek to sensationalize either through it’s retelling, assumed artistic license or the cinematography used.
It is, quite simply, raw and honest. And I for one loved that about it, and credit is due to the production company ‘Remember Films’ and it’s writer (and director) T. C. Christensen (also known for his works on such films as; 17 miracles, Ephraim’s Rescue, and Forever Strong)
In watching this movie you will be presented with many questions I feel. Questions which challenge and which point you towards reflections on faith. There are within the film – just as there were at the time of the real life incident – accounts from the children involved concerning ‘angelic visitations’. And these are certainly hard to simply dismiss. Especially if you are a Christian.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
The words in the above quote come from the book of Hebrews – Chapter 13 and verse 2. They are taken from the New King James Version and as a bible-believing Christian I cannot therefore deny the existence of angels. Do I fully understand their purpose or indeed their often reported presence among us? No of course not. But I am so very grateful for them and so very careful that my gratitude is directed to the right person, to God through Christ. After all, isn’t it important that we are correct in our beliefs and our approaches?
And so here I feel I should, as a Christian, make something very clear about this film…
Having watched and been thoroughly intrigued by this film, and having decided to review it here on this site. I began to research it more fully. I like to do that when writing a review and think it only right and proper to do so. It was only during that research that I learned of the connection this film seems to have with the ‘Latter Day Saints.’ And I could not in all good conscience write this review without pointing that out or without making it perfectly clear that I personally have nothing to do with that particular organisation or sect.
The above having been said, it does also therefore call into question – for many, I am sure – whether this is actually a Christian film and thus whether it should be reviewed here. And I have to admit I am still not settled on this issue myself. But interestingly there appeared to be little to no reference to the Latter Day Saints within the actual movie itself. And, as I said, the movie is powerful and raw and honest in its production and witness. And the cast – including many of the children put in excellent portrayals.
Written By: T.C. Christensen
Directed By: T.C. Christensen
Starring: Nathan Stevens, Jason Wade, Caitlin E. J. Meyer,
Genre: Drama, Family, Faith-based, History
Released: June 5th, 2015
Runtime: 94 mins
Age Rating: PG-13
Violence: Next to None
Controversial Language: None
Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None
Potentially Disturbing Scenes: Integral to plot.
For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 7/10 ††††††††††