I recently stumbled across another family-friendly faith based film studio that offers a wonderful selection of movies the whole family can enjoy together. So, when I reached out and was sent the following three recent releases from Echolight Studios, I couldn't wait to watch them and see how they compared to other film studios I have worked with. Here is more about each of the movies I was sent, along with my thoughts on each.
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"Nikki should be happy. She is a successful lawyer with a beautiful daughter and a husband she cherishes. From the outside looking in, everything about her life seems perfect. But in reality, Nikki is suffering. The cracks beneath the surface have reached her heart, and she longs for a love more pure than any she can find on earth. Her desperate search proves fruitless until the day a mysterious invitation arrives.
"You are invited to dinner with Jesus Christ."
It has to be a joke. Logic tells her it’s impossible. Wanting to unmask the culprit behind the prank, Nikki decides to play along. The man she finds waiting at the restaurant will change her life forever.
From Kelly’s Filmworks and director Jefferson Moore, this inspirational film about Christ’s unconditional love is based on David Gregory’s bestselling novel Dinner with a Perfect Stranger."
After watching 1 Message, which is directed by Jefferson Moore, I have become an instant of his work. So, I was excited to see that he also directed this title. This movie is the sequel to the 2006 film, "The Perfect Stranger, and picks up 10 years later. We find Nikki Cominsky's daughter, Sarah, who is now 19 years of age, heading off to college. If you haven't seen the first movie, don't worry, you will still enjoy this one. I had seen the original movies years ago, but forgot a lot of the details. We find Sarah at a spiritual crossroads, when she thrown for a loop when her mom tells her that she once had dinner with the Almighty Himself. Thinking her moms in nuts, she strikes up a conversation with a stranger to discuss religion and the questions she has around her personal beliefs and faith as a whole.
I know for me personally, that I found myself at a spiritual crossroads when I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2008, after having most of my relatives unsuccessful battle cancer. I wondered why this was happening to me. This movie made me wonder what I would ask the Lord if I was able to sit down to dinner with him, like Sarah's mom supposedly did. It should would make for a unique and lasting memory for sure.
Usually sequels flop, but I have to say that this one worked, as it centered around Sarah and her personal struggles with her faith. It was very enjoyable and would definitely open up a fun discussion with those who watch it, as to what they would ask the Almighty Himself if they were to have dinner with him.
"She was broken, betrayed, and finished with life. But life wasn’t finished with her.
Kelly’s Filmworks and director Jefferson Moore (Clancy) present this inspiring story of a shattered woman who discovers the resilience to keep living in the message of a man she’s never even met. Also starring: Ashley Kate Adams (Royal Pains), Mark Smeby (The Perfect Gift), and Matt Wallace (Forrest Gump)."
Out of the three movies I was sent to review from Echolight Studios, I have to say that this was the most difficult to watch, as I went through cancer myself back in 2008. Even though my cancer was not breast cancer, anyone who has dealt with cancer personally or had a close family member go through it, know how difficult and life changing a cancer diagnosis is. I found myself crying from the start, and continued to reach for tissues during the entire film, which was almost 2 1/2 hours in length. Now you would think that because it was this long, it would grow tiring, but quite the contrary. You were brought along as Becca deals with her diagnosis, treatment and recovery -- which is a long and grueling process physically, emotionally and mentally. And, unlike other feel-good movies that you think you know how it will end, this movie throws you for a loop. Don't worry, I will not tell you what happens. Just know that when you watch this, what you think will happen throughout the film, doesn't -- making the 2 1/2 hours fly by.
Even though watching any movie about cancer is tough for me, as I am only 4 years out of treatment, and it is still fresh in my mind, it was refreshing to see how director, Jefferson Moore, presented the story, and how well Ashley Kate Adams, who plays the lead character, Becca, really stole the show. I will definitely be watching this movie again, as well as sharing it with family and friends. It really makes you appreciate your life and opens your eyes in case you haven't experiences cancer firsthand, so you can see what those who have, have gone through and continue to go through. And, I will also be picking up the book that this movie was based on to read, as I love seeing how books and movies differ.
"You'll have to use your heart to get there.
Debbie Laramie uproots her home in Dallas when she's transferred to a small church in the sleepy town of Paradise, Texas. Once there, Debbie and her teenage son brave a bumpy road as they adjust to a community in need of a guide back to God. The plucky pastor's unique approach to church life polarizes the members even more—until a catastrophic chain of events leaves them without a building at all. An old barn is their only chance to keep the church alive. With the help of her supporters—and even a few naysayers—Debbie turns a humbling challenge into an opportunity to breathe new life into the community and inspires her new church to trust in her and God's plan."
Remember Crystal Bernard from the popular television series, Wings? Well, if you are fan of her acting, you will want to watch her in this inspirational movie, in which she plays a big-city pastor who is uprooted to the small town of Paradise. There she finds a town in desperate need of direction and lesson in compassion. Will she be up for the challenge? Or, will she also turn her back on those in need and go back to the big city, which she and her teen son are used to? Don't worry, I am not going to ruin the ending for. You will just have to pick up a copy of this DVD to find out for yourself. I will say, however, that this movie does an exceptional job that will really inspire you and have you talking to your family about its lessons in love, faith, forgiveness, helping thy neighbor, just to name a few.
Since receiving this movie to review, we have seen it a few times, as it is that good. It is always nice to see Crystal Bernard in movies, and she does a great job playing Debbie Laramie. Her character makes you wish you were apart of her congregation. :-)
Overall, all three titles from Echolight Studios was a joy to watch. And, I am so happy to have another outlet for Dove-approved family friendly movies. So, if you enjoy these types of films just as much as my family does, why not pick up copies of the above titles, or see other movies which Echolight Studios has available. I can't wait to check out the following releases from them --
If you get a chance to see these movies from Echolight Studios, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, as well as other Echolight Studios movie suggestions. Family movie night is so much more enjoyable when you can watch wholesome family movies like these, and not have to worry about censoring or forwarding through inappropriate scenes that you don't want the little ones to sees.
Disclosure: I was sent samples of the above DVDs from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. The views above are mine and mine alone.