I Can Only Imagine

Reviewed
Mon. 11/6/17
I Can Only Imagine
4.3333333333333
Acting
4
4/5
Morality
5
5/5
Music
4
4/5
Story
4.5
4.5/5
Visuals
4
4/5
Kernel Factor
4.5
4.5/5
A must-see for fathers and sons who want to go deeper.
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
Viewing Environment:
Theater
Viewing Crew:
Significant Other
Times Watched:
1
Genre:
Drama
Payment Method:
Free/Screening
Review:

Let's go! This film is such a good reminder of how a journey of faith is never easy, but so worth it. A true story of one of the most famous songs ever sung/recorded. I've always been intrigued by songwriting - even though I have absolutely no musical talent - and this movie was very unique from that perspective (you don't usually see a singular focused "process" movie). The father and son dynamic in this movie is real, and I feel like there is going to be legitimate healing between fathers and sons after this movie. I certainly pray that there is. The truth behind the story, the relevancy of the topic/themes, and the traits we see displayed (especially by the lead actor) are so important as to why this is a great movie. I definitely appreciate the Erwin's approach to storytelling and I have a feeling we will continue to see more and more true stories of faith (probably thanks to box office numbers), that aren't always pretty but have God's fingerprints on them. *Please note, I will see this film again when it releases in March 2018, but I saw this as an early-invite screener.

Acting
There are hard scenes in this movie. J. Michael Finley and Dennis Quaid certainly stand out as excellent performers - although even Dennis has a couple inconsistent moments portraying his character. This movie needed Dennis and it may have needed one other big name to help it soar in terms of box office numbers (lol, listen to me predicting 5 months before its release), but I expect to hear a lot of positive comments about the acting from people. J. Michael Finley was truly a great choice for the role of Bart.
Morality
I would censor my kids under 12 from watching this, simply because of the aggression/abuse the father shows toward his son. Yet, the redemption, forgiveness and struggle to be redeemed is so heartfelt and real. So important for mature kids to see. Make no mistake this is a Christian movie, but it's also surprising how little Christian lingo is used and how Bart isn't just a Bible-thumper but a guy with issues like all of us.
Music
They started really strong on licensing notable songs and then sort of let that go. I felt like there could have potentially been another clip of a mercyme song - not to make it a sing-a-long but simply to maybe help us resonate with their band a little more. And, strangely, I know this had to be intentional but the final song (which is "I can only imagine") wasn't sung as well as I think it should have been. I really loved how the song was used in short notes by different instruments throughout the movie.
Story
I love this story! And not every true story is a good one, and this one is a great one. But not every great story is told well and I think this one is. I think there were a few timing issues that bothered me - actual dates vs fictitious dates to make the story work.
Visuals
Man, they loved their smoke machine and circlular jib shots - I actually had to look away during the final song and I'm assuming this will actually get changed for the film's final cut because it's so dizzying on such an important scene. Or, maybe I've just become an old man and can't handle the literal visual take on "surrounded by your glory". And although Oklahoma doesn't look like Nashville, they tried. Still, this is well shot and well put together. I definitely was enthralled in the story, and I give the visual crew a lot of credit for that.
Kernel Factor
We make movies, at least I do, because we want to help people feel something and hopefully lead them to positive action. I'm biased, but this film has a message that resonated with me. And I believe and hope that it does the same for others - we need a story like this given our current cultural climate.

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