Jeffrey Douglas has recently lost his job as a fireman, so he decides that drinking is the best way for him to escape from his problems–both his present and his past problems. His wife loves him, and she is pregnant with their first child, but Jeffrey can’t seem to get it together as he runs from his past. As his life continues to spiral out of control, will he ever reach the point where he decides to rely on God?
Production Quality (1.5 points)
These days, even cheaply made films have the ability to have productions of decent quality. I Before Thee is an example of this. Its video quality is fine, as is the audio quality and camera work. The soundtrack leaves something to be desired, and there are some random moments of loud background sounds and obvious overdubs. Sets, locations, and props are mostly cheap and limited, and editing is fairly poor. However, this film is a step up from the early-2000s garbage productions that used to be dumped into the market, but that’s unfortunately not saying very much. While this production is average, the movie doesn’t have much else going for it.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
A lot of the time, it is very unclear what message I Before Thee is trying to convey. It raises some important points and highlights some unfortunately realistic circumstances, but there is a bit too much edgy content. There are also a handful of unusual elements that are difficult to understand. While there are some interesting psychological concepts that keep this section from being zero, they are mostly poorly executed. Characters have next to no development as dialogue is very half-hearted and empty. There are barely any attempts to make the audience understand who the characters are as real people–they appear to just be pawns in the plot. Elsewhere, the storyline is too disorienting at times, and the ending generally makes no sense at all. There is very little redemption for the messes that are created in the plot, which gives little purpose to this plot being made. Maybe someday somebody can use the slightly interesting portions of this film to make a better one.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
It’s not like the cast members had any good lines to work with, but this acting is fairly poor. While there is some slight potential here, a lot of it is very forced and unnatural. Emotions are too cardboard and uninspiring. Line delivery is vanilla. On the whole, this is another throwaway film you are unlikely to hear much about.
The Christian movie field is beyond flooded at this point, so new creators have to do whatever they can to stand out for the right reasons. I want to emphasize “for the right reasons.” Film making is hard and expensive, and your first film is unlikely to have a very high budget. That’s why you can set yourself apart by having a dynamic plot and great acting coaching. Anyone can act well with the right coaching, and a great plot is one that captures real people doing real things without pushing a message. Unfortunately, I Before Thee fails on most of these fronts and will likely be soon forgotten.
Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points