Dave’s 2-Word Review:
When you are faced with a Christian film, there is usually a shared belief among Christians and non-Christians alike – the movie is going to be predictable. However, what many see as Christian cheese, others may see as just, a good message that never gets old. However, seeing certain elements in a Christian film that end up being labeled as cheese or cliché isn’t brought forth from people that favor Hollywood films. There is also such a thing as Hollywood cheese, but the amount of times it happens in Christian films is usually a staggering amount higher than Hollywood. That being said, the Pure Flix film, Meant to Be is actually done pretty well after arguably having a slow start.
This film centers on the life of Nathan (Bradley Dorsey) a writer who is looking for his long lost mother, who years earlier gave him up. Meanwhile, his mother (Erika Eleniak) is a case worker for child protective services that receives an anonymous tip that a young girl named Tori (Erin Sossamon) has been being abused. She soon comes to find that young Tori is pregnant, and considering abortion, she takes this as a sign from God to help the girl out as much as possible.
From this description, it literally sounds like…not specifically Christian cheese, but at least Hallmark Channel material, and it is for the most part. There is something that happens later on in the film, something that I cannot say due to spoilers, but it is completely unexpected, and really sets the movie into gear. Unfortunately, this…thing…doesn’t happen until the film was well over halfway done. Had I made the movie, I would have pushed one scene much closer to the beginning of the film, as a hook. I say this, because the first half of the film feels really cheesy, and that scene would have helped out tremendously.
As a Christian film, there’s one thing that you know will be in it for sure, and that is a good moral message, and this film had it in there for sure. A lot of the movie’s focus on Tori’s decision into getting an abortion. An issue not only important for religion, but for the whole world…this is a political issue. I would have preferred that the take on abortion included some of the more hush hush elements of what makes people go after it, like rape. Sadly, abortion was just seen in this film as the general idea, and was obviously pro-life. So, those of you that “wouldn’t get an abortion, but support pro-choice”, should probably stay away from this one…with vigor.
Yes, there was some true Christian cheese in about three main scenes in the movie, but not to the degree that is typically seen from Pure Flix. There is no sit-down with strangers that put their arm around a sad person and handing them a bible…no that doesn’t happen. All that is really there is a lot of talk about accepting God’s plan amongst a Christian family…it’s untraditional from the usual stuff we see in movies, so it feels a little weird, but it is believable.
Production-wise, it’s nothing new. For the most part, there was nothing special visually. Maybe it looks kind of cool in a couple shots, but for the most part, Christian filmmakers focus more on story than anything else. Truthfully, it should work like that, but it doesn’t anymore…the harsh truth is that an audience is looking for certain things. The lighting and coloring in the film is completely ignored. The acting is sub-par, and there are obviously some bad ADR and SFX work thrown together. The writing when considering the story was okay, but the dialogue piecing everything together was a bit drab. Production-wise…it’s exactly what you would expect.
Dean Cain is always amazing though, and his history and experience in acting shows brightly through. He is obviously the best actor in the movie, and he’s really just in the distance doing almost nothing of importance. Next up is Della Reese, whom you may or may not remember as Tess in Touched by an Angel. She and Cain are both experienced actors, and they do a pretty decent job in the movie, quite honestly so. The title characters are pretty forgettable though, and that’s a shame.
I’d rent it just to check out how different this is from a typical Christian film. It’s not really that they have come a long way from their continuing problems in the media, but they did make a pretty good choice while writing this film. Let’s hope they can continue doing so…maybe they can start bringing in a wider audience.