Grace of the Father (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

When a family’s mother dies, the father decides to move with his kids back to his wife’s birthplace. Tired of being under the thumb of a ruthless land owner, they want to have a farm of their own like the mother always wanted. However, the adopted son doesn’t want to live their new life and promptly leaves when he’s old enough. Will he come to his senses and return to the family who loves him?

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite acceptable camera work and video quality, the lighting in this production is inconsistent, including some dark indoor scenes and weird soft light in random places. Audio quality is all over the place due to poor microphones, background echoes, loud background sounds, and a generic soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap, and production elements, such as sets, locations, and props, don’t adequately portray what they’re supposed to represent. Nonetheless, some slight production improvement in the film’s second half is enough to earn a point for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the characters in Grace of the Father are slightly realistic at times, they mostly tend to be stereotypical due to obvious dialogue and circular conversations. The perfect Christians have unrealistic responses to tragedies and seem unaffected by a key family death, choosing to rely on mindless platitudes and exhibit random emotional outbursts that don’t fit the contexts. Elsewhere, it’s difficult to know what to focus on as the random subplots are simply strung together, causing the narrative the aimless wander in purposelessness. Valuable time is wasted on musical montages that accomplish nothing, and the story meanders all over the place without giving the audience a reason to be interested in it. However, in the final fourth of the plot, a slightly interesting twist is revealed that could have been interesting. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to redeem the other pointlessness in the movie, and many viewers will never make it far enough to see the ending. Thus, only a small score can be granted here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

For the most part, the acting in this film is passable even though the emotions tend to be flat and unrealistic. There’s nothing particularly dynamic or awful about these performances. However, they trend negative as the movie progresses. Therefore, only a point can be warranted here.

Conclusion

Lazarus Filmworks consistently puts out screenplays but has never been able to hit the average mark. They seem to mean well in what they do, but there’s always too many things holding them back from better ratings. Grace of the Father is no exception to this tendency, and there’s simply no more room in Christin entertainment for subpar efforts. In the future, creative teams like this one need to reassess their current direction and see where God wants them to go in the future. Collaboration is likely the best option for most creators.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

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Palau: The Movie (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Luis Palau, a world-renowned missionary, had meager beginnings in his life, but this did not hold him back from being all he could be for God. Under the mentorship of key people God placed in his life, Palau brought the Gospel to the countries and locations God laid on his heart and set an example for evangelism. Even today, the impact of his work is still being felt.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

While this is obviously a good idea on paper for a Christian film, it seems like the execution was only partial due to budget constraints. This fact is evident in the limited sets, locations, and props, even though they still demonstrate great attempts at historical and cultural accuracy. The lighting of the scenes is back and forth with indoor scenes mostly poorly lit while outside scenes are fine. The camera work is also acceptable, along with the audio quality. At times, there are background noises, however, and the soundtrack, while culturally authentic, seems forced at times. Further, the editing is somewhat choppy, but on the whole, this production is basically average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

As previously mentioned, the story of Luis Palau is a great true story to base a film upon, but the way it was conducted with this rendition wasn’t adequate in fully communicating the important messages therein. From the beginning, the attention of the audience isn’t effectively held due to an overall feel of the film being a sort of docu-drama. This attitude is demonstrated by collections of boring scenes that simply depict characters sitting around or standing while reciting lines. As such, the dialogue isn’t enough to drive the character development to where we can relate to them; we don’t know character motivations well enough even though there are some backstories portrayed. It’s a nice authentic touch to use the original language, but it tends to cloud things when it the whole film already comes off like a collection of Bible study skits. Because of this dynamic, it’s hard to see the characters as anything but representations of ideas, which is a real shame since the movie could have been a true epic story. The time jumps are a disservice both to continuity and proper development of concepts, and it ruins any chance of having central themes or concepts to center the movie around. In the end, this film is mostly benign, which also means it’s not ground-breaking.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

While the acting mostly means well, it tends to fall flat due to its vanilla nature. The attempts at cultural authenticity are definitely commendable, but each cast member would benefit from improved coaching. However, it has to be considered that the lack of good written lines puts a damper on their ability to deliver them well. Nonetheless, the smaller cast tends to amplify the errors, and in the end, this is basically an average performance overall.

Conclusion

In summary, it can’t be discounted that commendable effort was made to craft a film depicting an important true story that has impacted thousands of people around the world. Since it’s such an important account, we would have liked to see a much more substantial approach that did it justice and sought to produce a dynamic experience for the viewer. However, the film makers definitely meant well, so it will be interesting to see what they put out next.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points