My family and I watched this on Good Friday, and we were all glad we did. Sometimes it can be easy to be cynical about faith-based films, but in this case, the powerful message of how Christians deal with tragedy and God’s redemptive work in our lives outshone any misgivings we had going in.
Released in 2017 in theaters and produced by Angela White, the movie is the first of its kind to have been produced by an African-American female producer. When a teenage girl hits a 12-year-old boy with her car while texting, the tragedy inevitably links three families together. One family is hispanic, one black, and one white, so there are interesting racial dynamics at play throughout the story.
The pastor of a majority-black megachurch (Richard T. Jones) is distracted from his family as he navigates taking the helm from his legendary father and the complex new building project at his behemoth church building. His sons miss their dad, and his wife, played by Facts of Life star Kim Fields (Tootie!), keeps telling him he needs to be present for them.
In another storyline, a hispanic teenager is constantly texting and driving, much to the chagrin of her restaurant-owner mother, played by Christian singer Jaci Velasquez. The third strand of story is about a young woman, Michelle, a Christian singer, who is on the verge of landing a major record deal, or so hopes her ambitious builder father, who is close to filing for bankruptcy. He is banking on her record deal providing a much-needed influx of cash—that is, until his daughter collapses suddenly from a cardiac arrest and will die without a heart.
It’s crystal clear where these storylines are headed—for a car crash that will set them all on a converging path. What is not as obvious is how stirring this story becomes from a devotional standpoint. Missing our diverse church worship services, I soaked up the many songs in the production, especially those by the Bethel Church Choir. The music elicited reflections about God’s redeeming work in tragedy, his fairness and sovereignty, and the power of forgiveness.
The beginning is predictable, and the ending feels microwaved with its speedy healing and reconciliation, but the middle compels. The net result was a movie that uplifted, encouraged, and infused my family and me with a much-needed shot of grace. (Lifetime, YouTube, Amazon Prime)
About the Author
Lorilee Craker, a native of Winnipeg, Man., lives in Grand Rapids, Mich. The author of 15 books, she is the Mixed Media editor of The Banner. Find her on Instagram @thebooksellersdaughter or on her podcast Eat Like a Heroine.