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on March 6, 2007
Based on the best-selling novel by Francine Rivers, The Last Sin Eater movie is a faithful adaptation, beautifully capturing the novel's theme of redemption.

Set in 1850's Appalachia, this is the story of ten-year-old Cadi Forbes, a young girl wracked with guilt and longing for her mother's love. Can she ever be forgiven for what she's done? When her beloved Granny dies at the film's beginning the "passing bell" is rung, and Cadi is told the Sin Eater will come at nightfall to take away Granny's sins. Above all, she must not look at the Sin Eater. If she does, some of the sins he carries could spill over onto her. But as any curious girl would, Cadi can't help looking into the mysterious and dreadful man's eyes. Who is the Sin Eater? Why is he shunned by the entire community? And can he take away her sins now?

Though filmed in Utah, you'll be hard pressed not to believe every scene took place in the Appalachians. It's noteworthy cast features newcomer Liana Liberato (Cadi) who steals the show with her fresh-faced innocence and her ability to portray a broad spectrum of emotions. Stuart Finley-McLennan isn't the healer he was as Dr. McNeil in the Christy television series, but in this movie he's the one inflicting damage as villain Brogan Kai. Henry Thomas is probably most well-known for his role as Elliott in E.T., but he wonderfully captures the man of God character in this movie. The scenes he shares with Cadi are some of the films most touching moments.

Definitely a family-friendly movie it is surprisingly rated PG-13, though it seemed closer to a PG. Michael Landon, Jr. himself suggests parents watch the film before showing it to young children. This is due to a scene where a man is beaten to death (we see it mostly from a distance) and a massacre later on, although shown with restraint, is still disturbing. Death is a big issue as well giving the film a somewhat dark flavor.

Francine Rivers had final approval of the movie, and she was thrilled with Landon's and co-writer Brian Bird's interpretation. Says Francine, "I knew from meeting them and hearing about what they believed that they would keep the Gospel at the center, which was my main thing. They really stuck to that and kept the heart of the story. I'm very pleased with what they've done." The most notable change in adapting the book to film is the absence of Cadi's brother Iwan, but the others are minor and understandable. Taken as a whole it's clear staying true to the book was important. The small budget (reportedly 2.2 million) is only evident in the tree bridge shots, which obviously used green screens.

Reminiscent of the Christy series in setting and tone, The Last Sin Eater makes the Good News compelling. Through Cadi's heart-wrenching journey we are gently shown what redemption is all about--love and forgiveness. And refreshingly, the Gospel isn't apologized for. It's clearly presented without hitting you over the head.

Enriching and uplifting, The Last Sin Eater is what a Christian film should be.

--Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for TitleTrakk
22 comments99 of 103 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
At heart this is a tale of faith, and how a community learns to cast away their fear, superstitions and past sins & redeem themselves. The lead character is young Cadi Forbes [played brilliantly by Liana Liberato]who carries a heavy burden of guilt as she feels responsible for her younger sister's death. At her grandmother's funeral, she looks upon the 'sin-eater', a person chosen by the community to lead a life of isolation, only to appear at funerals and 'consume' the sins of the dead so that they may rest in peace. Intent upon having her own sins absolved, Cadi sets out on a journey of hope, and tries to find the sin eater. Not only does she find him, but discovers that the community is not completely clear of conscience themselves, and it takes a man of faith to make her and the rest see the truth. The acting in this movie is above average...young Liana Liberato is able to convincingly evoke feelings of fear, guilt and hope, and the sin eater himself is adept at portraying his hopeless situation. The villain of the movie is played by Stuart Finlay Mclennan [who was the doctor in Christy] and he does a good job of playing an ignorant & power crazy maniac. There are also good supporting roles such as Thomas Howell as the preacher. The cinematography is lush and evokes the captivating beauty of the mountains, and the costumes are beautiful [though a bit too elaborate for people eking out a meager living in the mountains]. All in all, a great family movie [though young kids may find some of the scenes frightening], and a movie with solid values to impart.
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on April 16, 2007
"The Last Sin Eater" was beautifully done and captures the heart of anyone who watches this film. The story focuses on a young girl Cadi Forbes who is tormented by the grief of her sister's death; she feels she is to blame for this tragedy and only wants the love of her family, especially her mother. Her quest to find forgiveness leads her to the ultimate truth and redemption. The relationships between the characters are endearing and the story moves beautifully along. The children tug at your heart the entire film and Henry Thomas who plays the "Man of God" delivers a brilliant performance and will bring tears to your eyes. Even though there are some intense scences, this is a film for the whole family.

Francine Rivers was thrilled with this movie directed by Michael Landon Jr. and I can see why. This movie will touch the whole family and it is a film I could watch over and over again. We need more Christian films like this one!
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on May 11, 2007
This movie is exactly what I suspect it is intended to be - a story of redemption and grace. Those looking for ultra sophistication, or those offended by a film that unashamedly embraces our sin condition and how it affects us will probably not like this film. Those who find a positive treatment of these subjects relevant will love it.

On another note, I am married to a woman whose family immigrated from Wales in the 1800's and who lived (and many still do) in the foothills of the Appalachians. This movie captures some of the flavor of that culture. I highly recommend this movie as long as you remember - it is what it is.
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Released in '06 the Christian film 'The Last Sin Eater' is a classic case of the old adage, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." This well crafted but at times heavy-handed production is the brainchild of Michael Landon Jr., son of the famous Michael Landon who brought us such popular television series as; "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven."

Synopsis: A 19th century Welsh community residing in the Appalachian mountains hides a terrible secret about the past and their ongoing need for a "sin eater" to absolve their transgressions. Little ten year old Cadie also hides a dark secret of her own and her quest to find forgiveness exposes more about herself and her neighbors than she could have ever imagined.

Meaningful family friendly entertainment with a strong Gospel message. Even if you don't appreciate the overt evangelization there are things you can still enjoy in this film like the charming performance of Liana Liberto in the starring role of Cadie.
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VINE VOICEon May 26, 2007
Cadi Forbes is 10 years old and heavy enough with sin she's ready to end her life so the community Sin Eater can take it away from her. She finally hunts the man down in their isolated Appalachian settlement and discovers the truth of why the community has a Sin Eater. A stranger, preaching the Bible, helps her ease her own grief.

I've heard the term sin eater all my life, but I didn't understand the culture or the conditions that would so require such a person. The story's fascinating and the movie is beautifully filmed. This is definitely a worthwhile study of Welsh and Appalachian culture as well as faith.
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on June 5, 2007
"The Last Sin Eater", based on the Francine Rivers novel, is a wonderful tale of redemption set in 1850's Appalachia. I loved the book (which I have also reviewed), and found this movie to be a mostly faithful and enjoyable adaptation.

Liana Liberato delivers a great performance as Cadi, a young girl seeking release from the weight of guilt that has burdened her since the death of her little sister. Elizabeth Lackey, who plays Cadi's mother, does a great job, too -- they have one scene together at the end that just about had me bawling. The rest of the cast is good as well, especially Peter Wingfield as the title character. His role was very challenging; since his face is hidden until the last few moments, he has only his voice with which to move us, and move us he does.

My only disappointment with the film was that it didn't do as good a job of telling the story as I would have liked. I watched the movie with my parents and found myself having to explain a few plot points. For example, when Cadi overhears her father say to her mother, "So you wish Cadi had died instead?" my parents thought "instead" meant "instead of Cadi's grandmother", who had passed away in the opening scene. A few of the other subtleties of the story could have been fleshed out a bit, too. At times it felt hurried, and would have benefited from a slightly longer run time. For example, I would like to have learned a little bit more about the Man of God and what motivated him to enter the remote valley.

The Gospel as presented here is somewhat brief, although to the film's credit it does make it clear that 1)we need to be sorry for our sins and 2) only Jesus can grant forgiveness.

"The Last Sin Eater" makes for excellent family viewing and I heartily recommend it. You'll enjoy (and understand) it more, though, if you've already read the book.
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on August 6, 2007
This movie is based on a novel written by Christian author, Francine Rivers. I enjoyed the book several years ago and hesitated to watch the movie because so often the movie is not as good as the book. I was pleasantly surprised on a few counts. First, the movie WAS as good as the book and was true to the story. The casting was excellent without the million dollar names. Usually a Christian family film will come across as low budget but this was extremely well done with great screenplay and acting and gorgeous scenery. Secondly, the movie represented the gospel of Jesus Christ in a very interesting and historical storyline without an obnoxious or overly obvious attempt at evangelism. Another thing about Francine, is that she is not afraid of bringing real humanity into her stories! There are some harsh and abusive scenes in this movie which I didn't particularly enjoy watching but I feel increased the quality of the film. Her story really came alive in this DVD and I highly recommend it. For more excellent and thought provoking stories, read "The Atonement Child" and the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.
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VINE VOICEon May 31, 2007
A well-made, well-shot, well-scripted, and well-acted Christian movie; surprisingly complex, and with no easy outs. Heartbreaking and uplifting, with some creepy moments.
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on December 19, 2007
I rented this movie because I saw the preview for it and thought it would be good. And I guess I could say it was. But it was also very sad and depressing with a lot of death, though it was also very spiritual. But let me warn you if you don't like LONG, sad, gory movies, then it might not be the best to watch, if you don't want to ruin your nerves. I cried three times during the movie. And if you want your kids to watch it, they should be at least 10 or even 11 to watch it, because they won't understand it. You can give this movie a shot, but no one can guarantee that you'll like it.
11 comment10 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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