I'll confess...although my husband and I are committed Christians...we're a little bit skeptical when it comes to Christian films. This is probably because he studied film and I studied music, and artists know that the greatest works of art are relatable....and unfortunately, most Christian films are the opposite.
Our story begins with Sean (Nathan Clarkson) a college student who decides to leave home and attend a university away from home so "he can live his own life". He enters upon an English class where the professor challenges them to find the meaning of "your story".
It is then that the struggle begins, as Sean decides to stray further and further away, at least from the mindset, of believing that God really cares, as he rejects his father (Kevin Sorbo) and mother. He makes friends, and lives life by his own rules, until one day, what he does in good fun backfires on him and leaves him scrambling for money, and answers. This causes Sean to reflect on whether the pain he has caused himself and others is really worth living life by his own rules.
What impressed me about Confessions of a Prodigal Son is the simplicity of the story; the internal struggle was very evident in the Sean's life. Maybe the party scenes could've been a little edgier, but the drug and alcohol content were far more realistic than what I've seen in past Christian films. The real power of the story is in the narration...which is not some, hokey dialogue but truly reveals the struggle going in on in a rebellious heart. After all, what we're really talking about here is a heart issue. I was impressed by the acting... the natural acting of the actors made the story relatable, not like we were watching a soap opera...in fact, a couple of characters reminded us of people we actually know, which made the story even more engaging. Sean and Ali could be college kids at your local university. The parents in the film, although broken-hearted by Sean's choices, continue to reach out to him through his rebellion. The bottom line of the story is forgiveness, grace, and freedom.
Something that the movie really captures well, is the need that we have for a father, and the impact that a father can have on their child's life, (as we witness a conversation between Sean and Ali.)
While a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, I wouldn't exactly call this movie cliché. The fact of the matter is, any of us could be the prodigal son. I actually found myself tearing up when Sean hits rock bottom. And I don't cry during movies often. You see, his circumstances are similar to people I actually know. In fact, he could've been me. Spoiler alert: The beauty of forgiveness and redemption is that it gives us a second chance, and Sean's life is changed because of the love and forgiveness of his father.
I would have loved to have seen this moved filmed on a bigger budget. But for what the crew had, they did an incredible job. The southern California backdrop makes for an amazing background in several scenes, and movie has a very down-to-earth feel. I almost felt like I was watching people I know personally... so, kudos to the actors, because that effect is not easily achieved. I also really liked the music in this movie, and I noticed while watching the credits that much of it was written by the cast. The lyrics and music really capture the heart of the story in that they're simple, but real. I would most certainly recommend watching this movie. Although, not a riveting blockbuster, I most certainly think that this movie is one of the best Christian films on the market, and I look forward to seeing the next film from Lighting Dark Productions.
(While this post was sponsored, the opinions presented in this post are my own.)