Friday, March 17, 2017

The Shack gets polar opposite reviews of A and F

Movie Title:  The Shack

Grade:  B

Rating: PG-13, 132 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Based on the best-selling New York Times novel by Canadian author William P. Young, this lovely film can heal your heart if you let it.  Lose the cynicism at the door and just allow yourself to feel the love. 

It’s filled with beautiful symbolism and metaphors, yet movie critic haters have given it an extremely low score of F on Rotten Tomatoes.  Christians and fans, however, have given it an A rating on CinemaScore.  You be the judge.  (You being the judge is a strong theme in the movie.)

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Pain has a way of twisting us up inside and making us do the unthinkable.” – Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington)
  • There is no quick fix to problems. 
  • “Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.” – Sarayu (Sumire Matsubara)
  • Forgiveness, hope, love, faith, patience
  • “Everything bares consequences.” – God
  • “You’re not stuck because you can’t; you’re stuck because you won’t.” – God
  • “With every act of kindness, the universe changes for the better.” – Jesus (Aviv Alush)
  • “What do I do?” – Mack when he was a kid
“Talk to God.  He’s always listening.” – family friend/Papa

Things I liked:
  • I love how God is revealed how the character can best accept him/her.
  • Beautiful imagery of baptism when he goes under the waterfall.
  • Lovely scenery and images.
  • The colorful image of the father and son together, forgiving each other was touching.
  • I loved the image of Jesus and Mack running across the water together.
  • I was impressed with Nan Phillips, the wife, (played by Radha Mitchell) who never blamed her husband once.  What an incredible example of forgiveness and understanding she was.
  • Octavia Spencer makes a wonderful God.  Her award-winning movie Hidden Figures is still playing in some theaters.  I also thought it was interesting to show God as a wise, old Indian father, played by Graham Greene. 
  • How many of you still think of the movie Avatar whenever you see Sam Worthington?  Did you know Disney’s newest attraction Avatarland opens in May 2017!  My friend, who has the dream job of a Disney Imagineer has been working on this project for months!  I'm so excited to see it!
  • Amelie Eve is adorable as Missy Phillips.
  • Singer Tim McGraw has been showing up in Christian films quite a bit recently.  Good for him.
  • I thought casting Aviv Alush as Jesus and Sumire Matsubara as Sarayu (Spirit) were fascinating choices.
  • When Mack asks, “Which one of you is God”? all three characters say, “I am.”  I liked that portrayal of three personages with a singular purpose.  I also love that he spends time with each one as a friend.
  • The way the central problem in the story is resolved is a biblical one that may seem too simple, yet is very powerful: trust in God, even when you can’t see or understand what God is doing.
  • SPOILER: There is a lot of abstract philosophysing, but Mack is able to apply the principles and put into practice what he has learned.


Things I didn’t like:
  • The story jumps back and forth in time a lot in the beginning.
  • I think almost every parent has experienced that terrible feeling when you can’t find your child, even if it’s just for a few minutes in the grocery store when your toddler dashes down a different aisle.  The experience in this movie will touch every parent’s heart.
  • There are few bad editing moments.
  • For some who are currently experiencing grief in their lives, this can be a healing experience or one that is still too painfully raw.
  • Most of the music is super cheesy.
  • SPOILER: He never has to atone for his own sin of killing his father.
  • SPOILER:  A dream?  Really?  Isn’t that the worst cop-out ever?  I didn’t read the book, but I’m told the author didn’t stoop that low.

  • Interesting lines:
  • “If God’s always with us, why does he care if we’re late to church?” – Missy Phillips
“God cares, because your mom cares.” – Nan Phillips  (great answer)
  • “Son, when all you see is your pain, you lose sight of me.” – God
  • “Why would you keep working on me?” – Mack
“Cuz that’s what love does.” – God
  • “Don’t forget – we love each other.” – Nan
  • “Dreams are especially important.  They’re a way of opening a window and letting the bad air out.” – God
  • “You misunderstand the mystery.” – God
  • “Love always leaves a mark.” – God
  • “I don’t need to punish people; sin is its own punishment.” – God
  • “When a star twinkles, a prayer is heard in heaven.” – Mack
“Wow, Papa sure is busy.” – Missy
  • “Religion is too much work.” - Jesus
  • “You want the promise of a pain-free life.  There isn’t one.” – Wisdom


Funny lines:
  • “I always pictured you with a white beard.” – Mack
“I think that’s Santa.” – God
  • “Honey, you have no idea how much I’m doing right now!” – God
  • “Do you like Neil Young?  I’m especially fond of him.” – God
  • “Serei can be very persuasive.” – Jesus
“If only I were smart enough to understand a word she says.” - Mack

Tips for parents: 
  • The film addresses child abuse, abduction, murder, domestic violence, alcoholism, hypocrisy, religion, Christianity and other heavy subjects.
  •  Mack says, "OMG!", but God immediately forgives him; otherwise, no profanity in this movie.  Yay! 




@trinaboice 
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