Movie Monday – When Calls the Heart: My Heart is Yours

Movie Monday

For several seasons, avid fans of When Calls the Heart have anticipated the marriage between Elizabeth and Jack. Will it happen in this episode?

An order from Headquarters for Jack to assist in delivering a prisoner arrives. Bill decides to help out his friend by taking on the duty. Can he survive the awaiting ambush?

When an accident occurs at the church, will the wedding still continue? And what if Bill doesn’t arrive in time with the rings?

My Heart is Yours features all of the characters that fans have come to love: Elizabeth and Jack; Rosemary and Lee (my personal favorites); Abigail, Frank, Florence, Carson, Bill, Cody, Opal, and Clara, to name a few. Themes of love, courage, devotion, and helping each other in times of crisis abound.

Later in the movie, when  a seemingly “unimportant” mystery occurs, will Bill solve it? Or will he deem it as not worthy of his time? When Philip struggles with seeing the chalkboard in school, the doctor prescribes glasses, but will that cure the real problem?

Rosemary feels her marriage to Lee has hit a rough spot. This part of the movie is perhaps my favorite. It details that there is something special about loving the one God has chosen for you, whether your marriage is in the newlywed phase, a couple of years past that, or decades of long-lasting love spent together with ups and downs.  Marital bliss and satisfaction is not limited to those first “exciting” days and months directly after the wedding vows are spoken. Can Rosemary and Lee solve the rift between them?

My Heart is Yours is another great installment in the When Calls the Heart series. Some episodes are better than others, but all are family oriented, lack the usual distasteful Hollywood fare, and are appropriate for all ages. I give My Heart is Yours a hearty four stars.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it?

 

 

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Movie Monday: Finding Father Christmas

Movie Monday

Based on the book by popular author, Robin Jones Gunn, Finding Father Christmas takes us into the life of Miranda, a real estate agent who struggles each year with the Christmas season because her mom died suddenly during that time 20 years ago.

Miranda never knew who her dad was, but when some of her mother’s belongings are discovered at the theater where she performed, Miranda finds some clues. One of the clues, a photograph, takes her to a small Vermont town. Could the photo hold the key to who her father is?

Staying at an inn and seeking the help of the handsome son of the inn’s owners, Miranda embarks on a search for not only her father, but also a search for a the kind of Christmas she’s always dreamed of. Can those longings she’s held in her heart since she was a little girl and lost her mom be realized? Will Miranda disrupt the lives of an unsuspecting family with her discovery?

Finding Father Christmas is a heartfelt story of hope and love. It’s a story of realizing that people who are giving and kindhearted truly do exist in a world, where we so often hear otherwise. It’s the perfect movie for the snowy winter days preceding Christmas.

[Possible spoiler alert] There is no objectionable material in Finding Father Christmas, and I recommend it for tweens and above. However, as a Christian reviewer and a mom myself, I do need to bring up the fact that there is the question of Miranda’s mother’s and father’s relationship and how it intersects with the relationships of others and the fact that they were not married. These are not details that are dwelt upon in the movie, but they are excellent discussion topics for families.

Erin Krakow (When Calls the Heart) and Niall Matter both give commanding performances. All in all, I recommend Hallmark’s Finding Father Christmas and give it a Christmasy 4.5 stars out of five. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Movie Monday – Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Movie Monday

Due to popular demand, Movie Monday is back! This week, I’m reviewing a movie that was recently shown in theaters across the country. Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: Path to Redemption is the true story of Louis Zamperini, the patriot, World War II hero, and Olympian, and shows us a glimpse into how no one is beyond God’s amazing redemption.

First off, if you haven’t had the opportunity to see this movie, I would highly recommend it. Estimated release date for DVD and Amazon video is in December.

Unbroken_Poster (2).jpg

I personally couldn’t wait for the release of this movie into theaters. So when our small local theater decided to show it, I rounded up the gang, and we made a family night out of it. Complete with a big bag of buttered popcorn (yes, it’s one of my weaknesses, and yes, I did eat the entire bag, but we’ll just let that be our secret!). 😉

The movie opens with Louis Zamperini returning home after being presumed dead during World War II. We see the loving and close-knit family that rejoices when he walks through the door. Finally, all is well.

Or is it?

Little by little, we are shown how being a tortured prisoner of war affected Louis. Nightmares, flashbacks, alcoholism…will he ever be able to forget the affliction he faced at the hands of enemy?

He is given a break from his speaking circuit and heads to the beaches of Florida. It is there that he meets Cynthia. They have a whirlwind romance before marrying shortly after meeting. What will Cynthia do when she discovers the “real” Louis? A lost man with a severe alcohol problem?

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that this movie is ultimately the story of God’s love for us. He never gives up on us, no matter how far we stray. He stands there always, with arms wide open, welcoming us. Through Jesus, we have the assurance of forgiveness and the hope of eternal life with Him.

It’s also a story of true love between husband and wife. Marriage isn’t always easy. But by the grace of God, true love does triumph.

There was one instance of minor foul language and some cleavage. Other than that, this is a clean movie. Because there are “memories” of the severe torture (nothing graphic) Louis experienced, this is definitely not a movie for young children. However, for teens and adults, it’s a memorable movie that begs for a second viewing.

Pureflix has created another phenomenal movie complete with forgiveness, redemption, and love; I’m proud to give this a strong nine-stars out of ten.

Below is the trailer:

Join me a couple Mondays every month (in addition to my regular weekly blog posts) for movie reviews, from new releases to old favorites, from a Christian point of view.

Have you seen Unbroken: Path to Redemption? What were your thoughts?

 

 

 

Movie Monday – Seasons of Gray

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s Movie Review Monday Movie is Seasons of Gray.

IMG (29)Seasons of Gray is a modern re-telling of the story of Joseph in the Bible. We are introduced to Brady, who deals with his older brothers’ vicious jealousy on a constant basis. The fact that he is their father’s favorite son only fuels the fire, as does Brady’s gift of being able to interpret dreams. When Brady receives a new truck for his birthday, his brothers decide they’ve had enough and take matters into their own hands.

Their ruthless decision forever changes the course of Brady’s life.

But does God still have a plan for Brady’s life despite the horror of what is to come?

Later sentenced to prison based on the words of his boss’s wife, who dishonestly accuses him of assault, Brady is faced with a decision. Does he turn his back on God, or grow in his faith?

That’s not the only major decision of which Brady faces. He’s also faced with yet another dilemma regarding his brothers.

Seasons of Gray has many great discussion points, including:

God’s plan for our lives, even when things go awry (Jeremiah 29:11);

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:22);

Being a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); and,

What was intended for bad, God can use to accomplish His purposes (Genesis 50:20).

While Seasons of Gray is a family film with nothing objectionable, it does contain thematic elements appropriate only for those 13 and older. There is some violence, but it is tastefully done and not of the typical “Hollywood” variety. Regarding the scene with Brady’s boss’s wife, the issue of sexual assault is also discussed, although not explicitly shown.

Everything about Seasons of Gray is well done. The acting is top-notch, the plot engaging, the story line realistic, and the scenes vivid.

Some movies are “downloads” or “rentals.” And some movies are “to purchase.” Seasons of Gray falls into the latter category. With a clear presentation of the Gospel and must-watch bonus features, I highly recommend it as one of the best movies of 2014.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – The Mighty Macs

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

IMG (26)Today’s Movie Review Monday suggestion is The Mighty Macsa movie inspired by the story of basketball coaching legend, Cathy Rush.

Take a trip back to 1971 when women’s college basketball was just beginning. Not many women tried out for the sport, and it was far from being taken seriously.  The Immaculata, a small Catholic college, has just hired a new basketball coach – Cathy Rush – to coach the Macs. Cathy’s goal is to turn the inexperienced women’s team with a losing streak into a #1 team. However, there isn’t much hope. The college gymnasium recently burned to the ground. Most of the players lack experience. Cathy’s unorthodox ideas aren’t exactly embraced by the Nuns at the college, and financial problems abound threatening to close Immaculata. Old uniforms and a lack of funds to purchase shoes and travel to games add to the troubles. Can Cathy, along with her assistant coach, a Nun named Sister Sunday, turn things around for the flailing team?

There are many great moments in this movie. One of the girls comes from a poverty-stricken home. When pictures are taken, she wears her only outfit – a pair of ratty overalls and old boots. The result is an act of compassion that, for me, was a tearjerker moment.  Another great moment is when Cathy has the chance to confront her former basketball coach and does so with grace toward someone who had caused her much pain.

There are some humorous moments throughout this movie as well. Viewers will want to be sure to watch The Mighty Macs ESPN segment at the end of the movie, which shows coverage from the real games and highlights some of the real-life players,  as well as, the real Cathy Rush.

I enjoyed this movie. It’s a heartwarming and touching story for the entire family about an underdog team and the value of teamwork.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday ~ Safe Harbor

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Monday Movie suggestion is Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor MovieSafe Harbor is the true story about an amazing couple, Doug and Robbie Smith, who found a ministry to take in troubled teenage boys. Their ministry came by accident.  It wasn’t Doug and Robbie’s intention to help the boys, who would otherwise spend time in prison.  They had quite different plans after retiring – to take a cruise in their boat and spend their days relaxing at sea.

Approached by a judge in their town, who asked the couple to take in three boys, the Smiths found it difficult to deny the judge’s request.  After all, it was this same judge who gave Doug another chance years ago when he himself was a troubled teen.

Cramming everyone into the tight living quarters of their small boat, Doug and Robbie devote their time to nurturing and guiding the boys who come from a variety of troubled backgrounds.  It isn’t easy, and at times the Smiths wonder if they’ve made the right choice. However, they never give up hope that they can truly make a difference in the lives of those who need them most.

This was an excellent movie of hope, second chances, and sacrifice. There are two minor swear words and viewers are shown the sad reality of severely dysfunctional homes and the result such homes had on the teenage boys. Due to some thematic elements including an attempted suicide, I would recommend this movie for those ages 12 and older.

My favorite thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. The Smiths are a phenomenal couple, and I enjoyed seeing the real-life Doug and Robbie during the CBN bonus feature at the end of the movie.  This movie will warm your heart and I highly recommend it!

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Silver Bells

Penny Zeller, Christian AuthorThis week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Silver Bells

IMG (22)Bruce Dalton works for a local TV station as the sports anchor. With an inflated ego and impatience to match, Bruce expects everyone everywhere he goes to recognize him and the nightly tagline he uses after reporting the latest sports news.

Bruce is a man with a family – a wife, a daughter in law school, and a son named Jason who has lately been distancing himself from his father. Bruce’s selfishness is portrayed in many ways, from “fighting” for a parking spot at the local Kmart to putting his job above the needs of his family.

So what happens when Bruce takes his self-centered attitude too far? What happens when, in his anger and lack of self-control, a ref is injured at his son’s basketball game?

Will Bruce’s punishment finally show him what’s really important in life?

Silver Bells is a great movie on so many levels. When Bruce has to commit to community service as part of his punishment for injuring the ref, viewers get a glimpse inside the Salvation Army and how hard the bell ringers and other volunteers work to serve the less fortunate. Discussion questions abound, including:

  • The importance of family and their needs and why that should come first, after our relationship with the Lord. Bruce is not a Christian, but his son shows an interest in Jesus and church. Bruce wants nothing to do with either.
  • The importance of carrying out God’s command to serve others and care for the less fortunate. Bruce has no desire to ring the bell for the Salvation Army and finds himself in a bind many times regarding his attitude.
  • The importance of listening to wisdom, rather than focusing on ourselves. Major Lowell, the Salvation Army leader and pastor is a Godly man with much foresight. Will Bruce bother to listen to his gentle answers to the problems Bruce is facing in his personal life?
  • The importance of not sinning in our anger and keeping keeping our self-control in check.

Silver Bells has ingredients of a great movie. It has drama, humor, a wonderful plot, and a touching ending. Expect to laugh throughout the 88 minute movie, shake your head at Bruce’s shenanigans, and rejoice in the hope and redemption offered.

Bruce Boxleitner plays Bruce Dalton and gives a commanding performance as a versatile actor who can effectively play either the “good guy” or the “bad guy.”

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. A Christmas classic for years to come, this movie has quickly become one of our family favorites.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.