The Letter Writer (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

A teenage delinquent, Maggie Fuller really has no direction in life but to mess around at school and try to market herself as an artist, along with her boyfriend.  But the day that she receives a mysterious letter from a stranger telling her how much potential she has as a good person was the day that changed her life forever.  Maggie’s new purpose is to discover the person who sent her the letter in order to ask him what he meant and why he sent it to her.  Little does she know that her journey will lead her life in a whole new direction.


Production Quality (.5 point)

The low production quality really derails this movie.  From the get go, it is evident that The Letter Writer is low budget.  The video is grainy and the camera work cuts corners.  The sound quality is okay, but the musical score is distracting.  On the bright side, outside scenes are filmed fairly well.  Yet issues with editing plague the film.  There are too many wasted scenes and take away from the overall point of the story.  Some scenes last too long and others make it unclear what is actually happening.  One particular element, an assisted living choir singing a hymn, occurs far too often throughout the movie.  In short, had The Letter Writer been afforded a better crew, this could have been a great film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The Letter Writer is based on true events, and its premise is very original and creative.  This sort of plot has never been attempted, which makes it even more disappointing.  The central message of the movie—giving encouraging letters to strangers—is its strongest point, yet it seems underemphasized, almost like the writers didn’t know what they had.  The characters are also understated, driven by vanilla dialogue.  Some philosophically provoking conversations occur, but there is also some odd theology included.  As previously mentioned, there are too many wasted scenes that accomplish nothing—these could have been replaced with sequences enhancing the characters and the important message of the film.  But alas, we are only left to wonder what could have been.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

This cast definitely had potential that was not properly coached.  While the acting is not glaringly awful, it is too obviously amateurish to be awarded too many points.  Like other elements of the movie, line delivery and emotional expression are understated and do not leave a lasting impact.


The fact that The Letter Writer began as a short film even more demands that the movie should have been better.  Christian Vuissa was sitting on a gold mine, but he only scratched the surface.  In different hands and\or with a better surrounding team, this could have been Hall of Fame worthy.  In summary, The Letter Writer joins the ranks of Christian movies that desperately need to be recreated.


Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points



Heaven is Waiting {Midway to Heaven} (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Ned Stevens has been a rich bachelor living in a small Utah town ever since his wife died and his daughter went off to college.  But everything changes one day when his daughter surprises him by coming home…with her boyfriend, whom she is very serious with.  Ned immediately sets off to make her boyfriend look bad and to dig up some kind of dirt on him.  All the while, he continues to carry on imaginary conversations with his dead wife and his daughter is trying to get him to date a woman his age who lives in the area.  Torn in multiple directions, Ned must find a way to reckon with himself and move on from the past.


Production Quality (2.5 points)

Production is the only strong point of Heaven is Waiting, formerly known as Midway to Heaven.  The video and sound quality are both clear.  The camera work is passable and the editing is pretty good.  Despite their absurdity, the imaginary conversations are produced and edited well.  One problem to bring up is that the sets are limited and seem low quality.  Another issue is the makeup and costuming—the few characters within seem unrealistic and vain.  Otherwise, there are no issues where production is concerned.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Okay, so the entire premise of this movie is absurd.  While we do not have an issue with psychological self-conversation within characters, it is not clear whether or not Ned’s wife is in his head or if she is some kind of spirit guide.  Besides this, a dead wife trying to convince her husband to marry another woman is totally ridiculous.  This plot is very limited and rests entirely on Ned’s imaginary conversations.  The few characters contained in the plot are haphazardly cheesy; their dialogue belongs in a parody.  Once the movie has accomplished a certain amount of ‘comedy’, it digresses into cheap musical montages.  A lot of events take place off screen and there is unnecessary narration throughout.  In short, there is really no plot content here that is worth anything.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

In an attempt to be funny, most of the acting comes off as juvenile.  There is really no acting coaching for this very small cast, which is a problem since these few actors carry the entire movie.  As previously mentioned, a lot of the characters seem vain and unrealistic in their appearances.  Unfortunately, the only good thing to say here is that the acting could have been worse.


Heaven is Waiting, also known as Midway to Heaven, seemed like it started out as a good idea that never materialized.  There is a small amount of potential, but the film needs a complete rework.  I think that most sensible women would agree that a dead wife would never constantly ask her husband to marry another woman, even if that were possible for them to communicate.  Another conclusion to draw is that Ned was using his dead wife’s memories as an excuse to get married again, which is even more ridiculous.  In short, this movie should have been sent back to the creators in the early stages for a re-write.


Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points