Sunday, November 4, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: October Baby

One of the better "Christian" movies that I have viewed in the areas of plot, realism, and acting. With that said, it unfortunately still suffers from the same ailment that most theologically based films of the past few decades.  It tries too hard to be hip to disguise the fact that it is a Christian movie in the effort to draw in a larger audience. I, in my many years, have never figured out why this stigma exists and can't be resolved. I believe it mostly exists because many of these production companies practice their own brand of, biblically based, political correctness, reducing realism to a cartoonish view of world problems and a stale way in which their players react to it. The redeeming quality of this outing is unlike it's predecessors, this film only sputters for the first half and then recovers and drives full emotional throttle through the latter half.  In the beginning, the movie plays like a poor facsimile of indie film, with too many inane quick shots and artsy camera work. Add to that, an annoying soundtrack that spurts out every time a scene changes or someone exhibits an ounces of emotion as if you were suffering through some extended episode of the Hills. The purpose is appaulingly apparent; to give the audience a stylish and upbeat look into the lives of these young people ala MTV lite. The acting is the only saving grace during these gruelling minutes as the chemistry and interaction of the main characters is engaging and mostly authentic. Then we are exposed to the central plot which has all the impact of a feather falling on a bed of snow. This is where I though the film would move into an absolute epic fail. Although it is becoming increasing more difficult to surprise me, this flick does just that. Just as, the parents, one portrayed by Schnieder, seem utterly underwhelming by this massive revelation, actress Rachel Hendrix rises to the occasion and shifts the momentum of the picture pulling it back from the edge of disappointment. Even the love story subplot begins to move from insomnia cure to endearing, another pleasant surprise. Hendrix powers the film as if she is reborn, connecting deeply with the audience. Her presence brings us into a deeply moving and tragic story, and as it progresses, is further energized by Guy and Rigby who deliver painfully moving performances. Then Schneider wakes from his slumber, moving from bunting through to hitting away.  He breathes healthy life back into his character in the 7th inning and hits the game winning run by the 9th. The film crests with an amazing conclusion that ties everyting together with an undeniable message of grace, divine comfort, and redemption. Add in a heart wrenching testimony by Rigby during the end credits and the film reaches a credibility and spirit that few that have come before have ever accomplished. 3 out of 5 Kernels: any story that speaks so powerfully to the value of life in this cynical world deserves serious kudos in my book.

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