FOTF’s Plugged In – Movie Review
- September 28, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Category: News
Pastor David Newman is a good husband and good dad.
And he’s going to be a solid senior pastor once his own father retires. But, frankly, those are pretty big pastoral shoes to fill. There are all the congregational demands, the church management meetings, the new building project, weekly sermons, hospital visitations. The list stretches on and on … and David is feeling pretty stretched, too.
Maria Henandez is a good kid.
She’s as bright as they come. She helps out her mom, delivering take-out orders from their family-owned restaurant. And this 17-year-old is diligently working toward being the first in their immigrant family to attend college. Maria is excited about it. And her mom, Kate, would be excited, too—if she could get the girl to stop texting long enough to talk about it. It’s amazing she can function at all with her eyes constantly glued to that little screen.
Michelle Danielson is a good singer.
Some even think she’s kinda great in that department. “She’s got the voice of an angel,” her dad, John, says regularly. And a certain recording label tends to agree. If everything goes as planned, Michelle will be signing a nicely lucrative recording deal. From there, the sky’s the limit. And things would actually be pretty great for the angelic-voiced gal if it weren’t for the headaches—those nagging, never-ceasing headaches.
Each of these people have their own families. Their own problems. Their own little worlds. They know nothing about each other. To be honest, they probably wouldn’t care much if they did.
But they are all connected.
In fact, they’re all unknowingly hurtling toward each other very quickly now. And when their three disparate worlds collide, it will be in a horrendous way. Their lives will be changed forever. It’ll make each of them question what they believe and wonder about the purpose of life.
They will never see any of it coming. And when it does, they’ll have a hard time just seeing beyond the pain.
God is good.
Of course, God saw everything that was coming. He sees how all the pieces fit. He sees all the threads and all the ties. And He sees all the possibilities.
He just needs those desperately seeking him to have … a little trust in His goodness.
[Note: Spoilers are contained in the following sections.]
A Question of Faith packs in many positive elements. But most of them are couched within the context of spiritual themes as well, which I’ll unpack in more detail below.
In the wake of a tragedy that claims the life of David’s son, Eric, he and his wife, Theresa, struggle to make sense of what’s happened. David gradually grows angry and withdrawn, while his wife, Theresa, is motivated to reach out and find a sense of meaning in her son’s death—an accident that involved someone texting and driving.
Accordingly, Theresa goes to schools to tell Eric’s story and to ask teens to sign a pact saying they won’t text and drive. She also talks to people about organ donation.
Eric’s death drives David to wonder about God’s hand in the world and the fairness of life. “Is it fair that we live our entire life the way God asks, and somehow He finds it fit to take Eric from us?” David cries out bitterly to his wife.
Eventually, though, he’s encouraged by his pastor father, as well as others, to seek God in prayer. And when he does, David comes away from the experience with a conviction about his need to apologize to loved ones for his misguided actions. He also feels compelled to forgive the person who caused the accident that took his son’s life.
David even feels led to reach out a hand of friendship to a man who slighted him and who’s struggling with his own boiling anger. David’s magnanimity, in turn, causes that character to reexamine his own misguided ways and to seek God’s forgiveness.
At one point, someone proclaims, “We go where He tells us to go. We do what he tells us to do.” A Question of Faith demonstrates how foundational that attitude is for anyone who has a relationship with God.
Young Maria gets sent to juvenile detention. During that hard experience, she reaches out to a local chaplain and eventually gives her life to Christ. People pray repeatedly for one another, asking God to intervene in seemingly broken lives. Gradually, we see how His hand and faithfulness fundamentally change each of the people who are directly or peripherally connected to the story’s central tragedy.
Throughout, the film poignantly illustrates Psalm 34:17: “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Forgiveness also plays a big part in this story, represented by Mark 11:25: “If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven can forgive you.”
One woman wears some low-cut blouses.
David’s young son gets hit by a speeding car (offscreen). When we see him next, he is badly bruised and unconscious in a hospital bed. We learn that he has had massive brain trauma, injuries which eventually lead to his death.
Michelle’s terrible headaches become so severe that she passes out due to the pain during one performance. The doctors eventually diagnose her with a potentially deadly disease.
CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE
DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
The accident happens because Maria is texting while driving (though the movie makes a point of focusing on the terrible consequences of her choice). Elsewhere, it’s subtly suggested that one character quietly harbors a racist perspective.
Scripture repeatedly tells us that God’s eyes are always upon us, that He sees all of our steps. He sees everything we do, every choice we make, every thought we have. And God sees how all those things—the good and the bad, the gaining and the losing—fit together.
We mere humans, on the other hand, are a myopic lot. It’s often difficult for us to see the big picture, to see past our own anger and pain and confusion. That’s why the Bible goes on to tell us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
That straightforward truth is what A Question of Faith sets out to illustrate. With an omniscient storytelling perspective, this movie dramatically shows us that God is aware of all our failing and flailing. He knows the horrible stuff of our lives—such as a child’s accidental death, a crippling disease, the corruption of racial bigotry—and He can use it all to transform and reshape us, if we only let go of our consuming thirst for control and trust in Him. That’s a message that this film delivers in some involving and emotional ways.
There are, though, a few weak points. Sometimes the film’s cinematic structure can seem a bit forced. And viewers may be distracted by the fact that the story occasionally feels a bit like a public service announcement lauding organ donation and warning against the dangers of texting while driving.
But, like us, this film’s weaknesses aren’t the make-or-break factor in this mix. They’re just a small part. What’s most important, is what God can do with all the rest.