See original review here.
Obviously, the portion of A Cross to Bear that suffers the most is the production. The production quality is very low, and this is manifested in poor video quality, below-par audio quality, and unprofessional camera work. Though the sets, props, and locations are mostly good, the overall feel of this production is very low-budget and indie. Thus, it is easy to point to these production elements that need to be improved and how to improve them. Basically, a higher budget, combined with good stewardship, would have gone a long way to possibly making A Cross to Bear a Hall of Fame film.
Plot and Storyline Improvements
While the plot is surprisingly the strongest point of this film, there were a few things that could have been done differently, such as deeper character development. More opportunities for dialogue could have been taken in exchange for removing a few of the ‘training’ montages. The struggles of these characters were clear and easy to relate to, so a little more work in this direction could have gone a long way.
The acting of this film also has a higher rating than the production, even though there are a few amateur elements here. There is some coaching evident, but there are a few moments that seem over-acted and some that seem under-acted. As a whole, with a few small tweaks, this cast could have been nearly perfect.
Movies like A Cross to Bear are extremely rare in that their plot and acting quality are better than their production quality—this is a total role reversal from most Christian films. What it comes down to is that A Cross to Bear needed a higher budget to succeed past its original rating. Had it had the budget of some films half its rating, it could have a place on the Hall of Fame now. Nonetheless, perhaps the ideas of this film could be translated to an upcoming feature. Also, as we mentioned before, Lecrae needs to be in more films!
I too think that this movie has a lot of potential, the story is very real and raw in a good way. If the viewer can overlook obvious production errors, the heart of the story is compelling and poignant. It is one of the few low-budget Christian movies that I truly want to see remade. This is mainly because most other high-budget Christian movies with pro-life themes have very little potential (i.e. bad acting, flaky characters, preachy or spineless plot points).