Leaving her Amish family behind in order to discover who she truly is in the world, Katie Lapp soon discovers that the Englisher life is harder than she anticipated. She tries to work a restaurant job while searching for the mother she never met, Laura Mayfield-Bennet. As a wealthy woman with a terminal illness, Laura is wary of leaving too much for her husband, Dylan, to gamble away like he has before. She longs to find the long lost daughter she gave up years before, but she gives up all hope until one day, a miracle seemingly occurs. Has her daughter really returned to her or has her husband pulled another one of his tricks? In the midst of the confusion, Katie Lapp must keep her head above water and trust that God is in control.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird always seem like they are on the cusp of production greatness, and The Confession inches closer to production perfection, improving from the standard performance of The Shunning. Camera work is highly professional, as is video quality. Sound quality is good across the board. The sets and locations are more realistic and diverse than the previous installment and give the film a tangible feel. Yet two areas—the soundtrack and the editing—keep this production from being all it could be. For one, The Confession utilizes a vanilla Hallmark-ish soundtrack that doesn’t inspire much. For another, there are some lapses of editing, namely some odd assumptions, leaps in logic, and plot holes. For the most part, the editing is fine, but there are just enough errors to create a small amount of confusion. But in the end, this is actually a really good production and showcases what the Landon Jr. crew can do.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)
The Confession is more complex than The Shunning and it is really an interesting storyline. The structure is unique and is mostly not one that is commonly used. The conflict is slightly simple, but at least it’s not a copy of a copy of a copy. Characters feel more real in the second movie than in the first one, and this is probably because of some more meaningful and deeper dialogue. But there are a few silly moments that keep the character development from being all that it could be. Elsewhere, as previously mentioned, there are some plot holes and leaps and logic that are inserted just to keep the plot moving to a desired conclusion. For instance, how did replacement servant never arrive from ‘the agency’ and expose Katie for not being the replacement servant? This allows the plot to progress forward to its desired conclusion with a dramatic will-signing scene. For the most part, the error finding in this film is a little bit nitpicky, but we would have preferred to see the plot progress more naturally and not so carefully orchestrated. Also, the ending of the film is quite confusing and isolating, obviously just setting up for the next film. In the end, The Confession is an enjoyable plot with a touching message—it’s just too bad it wasn’t better because it definitely could have been.
Acting Quality (2.5 points)
Usually, changing a handful of the cast members in the middle of a trilogy isn’t a good idea, but it actually helps this franchise. Katie Leclerc is a much better Katie Lapp and makes her character feel more authentic. Elsewhere, emotional delivery and line delivery are much improved. Everyone is cast very appropriately. For the most part, Landon Jr. and company avoid their usual over-costuming mistakes. Unfortunately, a handful of minor errors keep the acting quality from being perfect, but it is still a formidable effort.
Landon Jr., Bird, and their comrades have always demonstrated an ability to adapt Christian novels into films, and The Confession is probably their second best. It’s oh-so-close to being Hall of Fame due to its professional feel and slightly creative plot, but several minor issues become a perfect storm to keep this from happening. Unfortunately, only major plot reconstruction would have made it any better. Yet it is good how it is and many people will enjoy this film. Therefore, we can’t help but wonder that Hallmark’s production absence from this film somehow made it better.
Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points