One day Erica is an extravagant girlfriend of a top music executive, and the next, she is a pregnant homeless woman struggling with addictions with no one to take her in. After facing tragedy time and again in the hard life of the streets and not being able to break her addictions, Erica finally finds Joan, a strong woman who left her nursing career behind to open her home to women on the streets. As Erica struggles to keep from going back to her old ways, she befriends one of the other residents, Tina, who has health problems due to her being a crack baby. In the end, Erica will have to choose between her old destructive path and a new path that has been offered to her.
Production Quality (1 point)
A Cross to Bear is a very frustrating movie, mostly due to its obviously cheap production quality. The video is grainy, the sound inconsistent, and the camera work amateur. This film obviously suffered in the financial department, yet it does not fall in line with the usual cheap Christian films. The editing is mostly good, but it needs to be refined. The strongest point of this movie’s production is its authentic surroundings, settings, and locations. This is a gritty subject accompanied by gritty elements that make it believable. This is the key redeeming quality of this otherwise poorly produced movie. It’s unfortunate that the budget was so low; other movies with higher budgets than this are far worse.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)
Based on true events, A Cross to Bear is a realistic and accessible story that could occur in any given inner city in America right now. The movie wrestles with homelessness, infant mortality, drugs, alcohol, and advocacy all while presenting an engaging plot. Despite the low production quality, the plot is enough to keep one’s attention. The dialogue is realistic and the characters are believable. The story does not turn out as expected and there is a major twist at the end that makes this movie all that it is. The only caveat that can be raised here is the fact that the characters could have been a bit deeper, since the plot depended heavily on them. Otherwise, A Cross to Bear proves that using real events as a plot basis almost always pays off and makes for a mostly watchable movie.
Acting Quality (2 points)
This is not a star-studded cast, but they do the best they can with what they have. There is a presence of acting coaching—the actors and actresses put most Christian casts to shame. Emotions are believable and line delivery is good. The only things keeping this section from being better is a generally and evidently under-experienced cast, but this is nothing to be ashamed of, because there is a lot of potential here.
A Cross to Bear joins the ranks of Christian films that desperately need remakes. This plot is far better than many more popular films on the market and needs to be elevated to its proper status with a higher budget and a good production team. Every now and then, a rare nugget with potential is found in a vast landscape of B-grade movies. A Cross to Bear is one of these. Even if a remake is never to be made, this movie can serve as an example of how basing movies on true events is better than spinning out another cheap inspirational flick.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points