Forever My Girl (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Liam and Josie were in love all throughout high school, and many felt like they were destined to be together forever.  However, when they were on the verge of pledging their lives together forever, Liam experienced several life-changing moments.  First, his mother died suddenly, and Liam was discovered as a country artist and became successful almost overnight.  Thus, Liam left Josie behind without saying goodbye.  Now, after several years of fame and success, Liam has gotten into trouble with his drinking habit and has been advised to lay low for a while.  Thus, he returns to his hometown to live with his father, who is a pastor, and Liam is shocked at who he finds waiting for him there.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a modern, standard inspirational film, Forever My Girl checks all of the right production boxes.  Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all what they should be.  The soundtrack is a bit generic and uncreative, but the sets, props, and locations are all realistic, appropriate, and professional.  The only other minor issue to point out here is the fact that the editing isn’t the best it could be, but as a whole, this is a very high quality production that we have come to see as commonplace in recent Christian films, and it’s a trend we definitely need to see continue.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

Though it is based on a novel, Forever My Girl unfortunately follows a predictable and stereotypical storyline that has been done many times before.  The return-to-hometown plot has many different iterations, and this one is just the star-returns-to-the-hometown version.  However, the presentation of this predictability is not entirely annoying and does make some good attempts at being realistic, such as a good attempt to explore family systems and some general efforts to create believable characters and situations.  Even so, the characters need to be a bit deeper through better dialogue, and the main character’s inevitable arc is a too steep.  Nevertheless, the message of the movie is fine, and many audiences will find it to be a good movie.  It’s definitely ten times better than your average Hallmark throwaway.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Though the lead actor and the lead actress seem confused and uncoached a lot of the time, the rest of the cast members make up for their deficiencies.  It’s unclear whether or not their characters are meant to be written that way, but it seems like the lead cast members could have contributed a bit more than they did.  However, the other members of the cast demonstrate great line delivery and realistic emotions, which is enough to bring this section over the average mark.  As a whole, this movie is good enough to be watchable.

Conclusion

It is definitely good idea to model movies after novels; if a film like this had not had a story written for it in a book, it likely would have been much worse.  This is definitely a practice we need to see more of on the coming days.  Hollywood has already figured out that using source material is the key to successful entertainment, so it’s time for Christian film makers to follow suit because if they put their minds to it, they can definitely do it better.  There is plenty of Christian source material to use, so it’s a great chance to keep using it.

 

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

 

The Trail {Let God} [2013] (Movie Review)

What am I doing in this movie?

Plot Summary

When Amelia and Levi decide to head West to score a fortune in gold, they never anticipated the hardships they would have to face.  After Levi dies, Amelia is forced to survive in the wild alone.  Watch with bated breath as she tries to light fires, searches for food, arranges rocks to call for help, rummages around empty covered wagons, stumbles around the terrain, and breathes heavily in an attempt to fight for her very life.  You will be left in suspense as you are forced to endure long sequences without dialogue and wonder if there is really any talking in this film.  The drama builds as Amelia thinks back to days gone by and wonders why this is even a movie.  Who will outlast the other: Amelia or her bored audience?

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

So it’s clear that whatever this film is called is an attempt to be a creative and artsy Christian survival movie thingy.  But it just totally fails.  First off, production is very cheap-looking, including poor lighting, cheap audio quality, and a nonexistent soundtrack.  Camera work is shaky in an attempt to be dramatic.  Video quality is okay, and at least the sets, props, and locations are realistic-looking, but there is really not much going on here.  This was a very limited idea that required no editing—this film simply exists.  Since there’s not much else going for it, this production needed to be flawless, yet it fell short.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Believe it or not, if you last until the ending, there is actually an interesting idea somewhere here, but it’s not likely to be discovered by most viewers.  The trailer for this movie is better than the actual movie itself and sets up the viewer for huge disappointment.  The true bulk of this story of a woman performing activities of daily living in the wilderness—like, literally everything she does.  Aside from some pathetic flashbacks that do nothing to build the few characters there are, there is zero dialogue for a full hour of runtime.  Even when there is dialogue, it’s a one-sided conversation.  There is truly zero storyline here as the viewer is forced to endure fake drama and sequences of the main character staring and breathing hard.  This story was clearly written for the end, but this cripples any good idea that was had since no one will ever know what it is.  Creating movies for one tiny idea should always be a no-no, but apparently people keep getting funding for this sort of nonsense.

Acting Quality (0 points)

In a movie with so few characters, the few people that are cast are highly crucial to the film’s success.  Unfortunately, in this one, the cast members do not come through.  Their performances are amateurish and forceful, and have far too much heavy breathing.  Emotions are not felt or believable.  In short, this rounds out a pathetic effort.

Conclusion

As a rule, one-character survival plots should be greatly avoided.  Half-baked ideas that have no surrounding elements such as professional production and well-developed characters are always going to fail.  Even if your idea is small and limited in scope, you can still develop your characters.  But alas, this is another failed movie that represents more money flushed down the toilet.  2013 sure was a landmark year for Christian film, but not in a good way.  Let’s hope we can move past those dark days.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points