Monday, November 21, 2016

A New "Mormon Movie"

Singing with Angels was released in stores this week. While many Mormons scramble to collect another LDS title for their DVD collections, here's why I think this one's suitable for fans of mainstream Christian feel-good movies too:
  • While the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a major part of this movie, overt Mormon doctrine, theology and culture is not.  Did you have to be a Catholic to enjoy Sister Act?  Um...kind of the opposite.   This movie is nothing like Sister Act.  
  • It is free from sensuality, violence, and profanity.
  • It reinforces strong family values while maintaining an honest lens that rings with authenticity.  I think the family dynamics in the movie were really well-handled.
  • Teenage characters are portrayed in a positive light!  That scored points with me.
  • I believe the chief messages are Christian ones, and not concepts exclusive to members of the LDS church; that we never need be alone, we can find comfort and peace through trusting in a loving Creator, and love can overcome a lot.
Some other notes, for all viewers:
  • I really enjoyed seeing the process of selection for the choir portrayed.  I'd read about how hard it can be to get in, but seeing it in the film was great.  I think a lot of people would find it interesting (non-Mormons too).
  • Spoiler follows:  There is a scene in which a character holds a gun and contemplates suicide.  This was a shock for me.  The parental caution label advises of an accident scene -- which I was braced for -- but the gun in-hand I was not.  My girls were surprised and had a lot of questions about it.  So conservative viewers, bear this in mind.  I'm not happy they saw this scene.
  • Our 3- and 5-year-old struggled to keep the dual narratives straight; the story is told in alternating sequences of the present and flashbacks (these are prefaced with text to indicate as much).  This was manageable for our 7-year-old, Haki and I, with no confusion at all.  The younger two also couldn't get a handle on which adult male character was the father and which was the uncle.  We laughed out loud more than once as Ivy said, "That's the dad..." and we said, "Nope, that's the uncle," and then "Okay, that's the dad!" Still the uncle.  To me they don't even look that similar.  I sometimes wonder if she inhabits Charlie Brown's world.  Anyway...the previous bullet and this chronology and character confusion combined lead me to suggest this isn't a family movie for all ages -- not that it will by necessity offend younger viewers, but that it is unlikely to be understood or appreciated by them.  
  • I cried more than once.  Haki felt the heart-string tugs were pretty heavy-handed.  I have to agree with him.  I'm just a sucker.
  • The story is fairly predictable and the acting is neither painful or profound; it's passable.
It isn't as funny as some I've enjoyed (which isn't its primary aim anyway), but I was moved by it and it upholds good values.  If you know you're a fan of Christan feel-good movies (which I know aren't for everyone, to be clear), chances are you'll be a fan of this one too.  Speaking of which, my next movie round-up post will feature at least two such titles *rubbing hands together.*  See you there.

Available at Costco, Deseret Book, Seagull Book and wherever LDS products are sold.  If you're going to pick up a copy, doing so by clicking the link below gives me dollars -- not lyin' -- so click away if you want to share love while making your purchase.  Our family is always looking to grow our Sunday-movie collection, I hope yours is too!  The banner of mutual benefits:
Singing With Angels

Digital access supplied by Candelight Media in return for an honest review.

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