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What if all faith-based films were this good?
on February 28, 2011
Perhaps the fastest growing classification of movies, faith-based films have a tendency to sacrifice production value for message. While movies like Facing the Giants and Fireproof have solid messages, they lack in the aesthetic polish audiences get from most Hollywood releases.
With "What If...", Dallas Jenkins manages to give audiences an aesthetically beautiful film with wonderful performances on both sides of the camera. The movie feels like a mid-budget Hollywood release, a remarkable feat considering the low budget and tight shooting schedule. Kevin Sorbo has a great presence throughout, and Kristy Swanson, still beautiful as ever, shows off her dramatic chops. And John Ratzenberger's performance is angelic, in a good-old-boy way.
Still, great direction and performances don't make a great movie unless the story matches. Thankfully, the story of "What If...", albeit somewhat recycled, is outstanding. Living a life of luxury and power, Ben Walker (Sorbo) is chosen by God to receive a glimpse of what his life could have been had he made a different decision 15 years earlier. The bulk of the movie is spent in Ben's alternate reality where he learns the true riches of life.
"What If..." doesn't hide the fact that it's a Christian movie. Still, it doesn't hurl religion at the audience with reckless abandon. In other words, it's a movie that even non-Christians can and should enjoy. Without sex, violence, or language concerns, it's perfectly suited for all ages.
Raising the bar for faith-based films, "What If..." is hopefully the start to higher standards for movies delivering messages of the Highest Standard.
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