Dustin, Albert, and Mark are friends who stick together and solve the deeper problems of their 1970s small town. But one particular summer, they find themselves with a deficit of activities save for fishing and mowing lawns. That’s when they inadvertently cross paths with Jonathan Sperry, an elderly local man who takes it upon himself to teach them fundamental principles for living—including the truth about Christianity. Unknown to any of the three friends, their lives will forever be changed by the secrets they learn from the enigmatic Mr. Sperry.
Production Quality (2 points)
Jonathan Sperry had a higher-than-usual budget, and it mostly reflects in the production quality. The camera work is pretty good, especially considering the high amount of outside scenes. The video quality is solid, as is the sound quality. Sets and locations were well chosen and props give the film an authentic historic feel. The musical score could have been better. The real thing lacking here is a game-changing factor. The editing is considerably good, but each production element just doesn’t quite live up to top standards. Something intangible is missing, yet it cannot be denied that Jonathan Sperry is still a step above most Christian films when it comes to production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Adapted from true events, the plot of Jonathan Sperry has a lot of great elements. The characters are authentic and many will be able to relate to them. The dialogue is simple yet profound. The events and circumstances they experience are believable and accessible. The storyline is non-linear and has some minor twists and turns. There is a clear Christian message throughout. Yet this being said, one could consider Jonathan Sperry to be overly realistic and too slow for viewing. There is some truth to this. The film lacks a dynamic punch that will really capture the widespread attention of audiences. Great care was obviously taken to be realistic, and this care shows, but we have to wonder if it is too authentic for its own good, so to speak. Nevertheless, the movie offers a poignant lesson for those who watch it and those who likely calm artistic plots will not find themselves disappointed.
Acting Quality (2 points)
Similar to production, an air of professionalism is very evident. The actors and actresses are coached fairly well. Since the cast is small, it carries a large weight, and it does not necessarily stumble under it. However, there are some minor errors that could have been corrected and thus keep it from being all that it could be. But nonetheless, the acting puts many Christian movies to shame.
There is a place for movies like Jonathan Sperry in the Christian film world, but unfortunately, films like this one will never be blockbuster. The truly unfortunate thing is that movies like this one are not the baseline of Christian-themed movies. This should be the starting point, not the improvement. Regardless, Sperry is something to build off of if only to showcase that the Christiano brothers understand the common man and that the only place they can go from here is up.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points