Sunday, August 4, 2013

Movie Review - Unconditional

Today I am reviewing a faith-based film with a strong message.  Although many parts are family friendly, it does deal with some very mature issues.  Because of this, I strongly recommend watching it yourself before watching it with your children.  There are amazing parts that are great for the whole family.  I would not plan on watching this with a child under the age of 13, but again, you know your own children and seeing it first would be a good way to go.  Normally, I put a recommendation like this at the end, but because of some of the events, I feel it is important to put it up here.

Harbinger Media Partners

Cast: Lynn Collins, Michael Ealy, Kwesi Boakye, Diego Klattenhoff, Bruce McGill, Cedric Pendleton, and Gabriella Phillips

About the film (from the website): 

Samantha Crawford is living a storybook life: she's happily married, she lives on a ranch where she keeps her beloved horse, and the stories she's told and illustrated since childhood have become published books.
When her husband Billy is killed in a senseless act of violence, Sam loses her faith and her will to live. But a death-defying encounter with two children leads to a reunion with Joe, her oldest friend. Inspired by true events, UNCONDITIONAL stars Michael Ealy (Think Like A Man, Barbershop) and Lynn Collins (John Carter, X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
As Sam watches "Papa" Joe care for and love the kids in his under-resourced neighborhood, she begins to realize that no matter life's circumstances, God's love is always reaching out to us.

My Review:

Unconditional starts with a bit of Samantha Crawford sharing about her life.  Her love story and her loss.  Samantha had it all.  She was living a life many would dream of with a career using her God given talents and a wonderful marriage, but all that is taken away in a senseless act of violence that takes away her husband and a very large part of herself.  Her world has crashed around her, leaving Samantha empty, alone and hopeless.  

The action moves swiftly in the next few moments.  Samantha is consumed by pain and loss.  Samantha is not reaching out, but visiting a dark place.  At that moment two children enter Samantha's life when unknowingly she needs them as much as they need her.  Through this, we meet Sam's old friend Joe.   

The story unfolds sharing where Joe and Sam are now and where they both have been.  Joe shares stories of how Samantha has not just impacted his life with her friendship when they were both children, but how she truly even saved his life.  As Samantha and Joe reconnect, she learns more about the life Joe has lived in the time they have been apart.  Joe openly shares how God used Joe's mistakes to reach him and open his eyes to purpose and God's love.

Unconditional is a reminder to us all that as dark as life may seem, you are not alone.  God has a purpose for each up and each down.  All we need to do is look for it.  If we ask, we will truly see it. Sometimes it just takes a moment for us to stop thinking about where we are and instead where can we be used.  


Unconditional is a powerful movie in story and in imagery.  The characters are truly drawn beautifully and fully.  There are times when I have seen a film that has seemed forced and manipulative.  Unconditional is not one of those films.  It takes time with the characters and story, allowing the viewer to fully connect in a very real way.  
What I liked:  

I liked that Unconditional immediately pulls you in.  It was a great change from films that I have seen recently that manage to drag the viewer along for an hour before anything significant happens or the points that do happen really have no bearing on the movie whatsoever.  That is not the case with Unconditional.   Every plot point mattered.  
Here is a great example of how quickly the film pulls you in.  This afternoon, I was working on a devotional, and my husband was watching television.  When he was finished, he said he was going to go into the bedroom and upload some pictures he took while we were out yesterday.  I thought "GREAT!  I really want to watch Unconditional!  I'll put it on now."  So I took the remote, put on Netflix streaming and began to watch the film.  My husband was about to get up.  He stopped and settled back down.  He NEVER got back up.  Yep...that is how quickly the movie got going and that is how good it was from the get go. 

My rating:  I would and did give Unconditional five out of five stars.  Unconditional completely met and exceeded my expectations.  I would watch it again and do plan on purchasing it.  It is a movie that I would feel very comfortable sharing.  

Inspired by a true story:  

Papa Joe is a very real person.  He works with under resourced children in Tennessee.  He and his wife Denise give of themselves daily to see that these children are loved and cared for.  There are many fatherless children in this world, and Papa Joe has done what he can to positively impact these young lives in a very real way.  You can learn more about Papa Joe here.   

I watched this film via Netflix streaming.  Again, I cannot say enough about  how much I appreciate that Netflix offers uplifting Christian films.  Below is a little clip.  Check it out.

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