Closer to God: Jessica’s Journey (Movie Review)

Grandpa’s angry

Plot Summary

Jessica is struggling in her battle with cancer while her mother struggles to hold it all together emotionally and financially.  The last thing her Jessica’s mother expects is for her father—Jessica’s grandfather—to show up at their house unannounced in the midst of it all.  Her mother has no choice but to let Jessica’s grandfather watch over her daughter while she is at work.  Through it all, will they be able to mend their broken family ties even in the midst of the battle with cancer?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Closer to God is another one of those productions that has good effort behind it but not enough funding or creativity to sustain it.  As is usual for these types of productions, video quality and camera work are fine.  Audio quality is good, but there is virtually no soundtrack.  Sets and locations are quite cheap and limited to a few houses and vehicles.  Another common element for this sort of production is blasé editing, which is also true for Closer to God.  There are a lot of lagging scenes and confusing transitions.  Overall, this is an average production that could have been more.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

While based on true events, Jessica’s Journey follows the predictable progression of a simplistic disease plot.  It is less dramatic than this type of story usually is, but it is instead filled with a lot of activities of daily living and meaningless sequences.  The characters are somewhat flat and one-dimensional due to uncreative and non-starter dialogue.  Perhaps the most identifiable element of this film is the creepy grandpa character depicted above.  A majority of the story is him wandering around the house spouting unusual dialogue.  While there is a vague recollection of meaning in the ending of this film, the rest of it is simply too much for it to matter.  We are unsure what was trying to be insinuated by the grandfather character, who dominates most of the movie, but perhaps they had no control over this actor…

Acting Quality (1 point)

It seems like the grandfather actor has been set loose on this set with no real direction except to use annoying and overly-enunciated line delivery.  He overshadows the other cast members, some of which are fine.  However, casting Ben Davies as a character older than he is simply does not work at all.  Some emotions are overdone throughout this cast, but there is some positive here, yet not enough to compete with creepy grandpa.

Conclusion

Films like this are very safe and marketable, but they have no staying power.  They don’t make the difference they hope to make and they rarely return the money that is wanted.  They are especially bad when they are remembered for weird offbeat characters like the grandfather in this film.  Elements like that are all that is remembered of these types of films because they have no dynamic elements to truly affect the market.  Once again, this is another one to throw on the pile.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

 

2 thoughts on “Closer to God: Jessica’s Journey (Movie Review)

  1. “Jessica’s Journey” had for me the right mix of humor and seriousness for the topic it tackled. It held its own nicely and the above 2.5/10 critique seems unjustifiably harsh for a well-done, albeit low budget, movie. I’d give it 7.5/10 or 8/10 and would watch it more than once. I found the grandfather’s acting superb – just the right realistic touch. Far from “creepy grandpa” I found the older character a likeable example of someone who messed up but loved his family and faced the awkward difficulties of mending a broken family relationship. The teen daughter whom the plot revolved around I also found excellently portrayed. The actor’s emotions came across entirely believable for a teen facing death at a young age – a mix of wisdom beyond her years with ordinary teen emotions. And the “hold it all together” mother with occasional outbursts felt true to the struggle of dealing with overwhelming circumstances The only puzzling casting to me was the male “love interest” at the mother’s work – not only an unexplained age discrepancy. but the connection felt odd. The other supporting roles, such as the younger brother, were good.

    Ultimately the plot and characters conveyed the central message, which is one we all need to learn somewhere between our first cry and final breath. I didn’t find the limited sets distracting – it kept the focus on the story. I don’t need millions spent on special effects to appreciate truth in a simple story.

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  2. I have watched this movie at least 15 times. It is acted brilliantly. It is as if I am in a real situation. It is real drama.
    America is so overstimulated with fake drama….hate, revenge, hate, revenge and lust that it feels nothing when it see’s real drama. They say the acting is terrible. The truth really is that it’s easier to act fake drama. Rated R movies are not quality. If they were they would not need all the indecent fillers to sell them. They say it’s like reality. Yes it is a reality that sick people are angry and lustful all the time. That’s the hook and producers know it. Anger, rage, lust and revenge are a lucrative industry.
    This movie is real drama filled with more life changing principals, substance and values than a thousand box office hits. I’m not trying to be moral im just saying all the stimulation desensitizes people. It makes them incapable of knowing what they are missing.

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