Directed by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, I Can Only Imagine tells the story of how MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard wrote the hit song of the same name. What is shocking about this particular film is, though it is clearly a Christian movie, it is actually getting some positive reviews even among secular reviewers.
Ten years old Bart Millard (Brody Rose, as a kid) grows up with an abusive father (Dennis Quaid), both physically and mentally. After Bart (J. Michael Finley), as a teen/adult) enters high school, he is determined to play football to earn the approval of his dad. After an accident on the field, he is encouraged by his girlfriend Shannon (Madeline Carroll) to join the Glee Club where he is pushed into singing. His voice catches everyone’s attention, but only earns him ire from his dad.
While at college, he hits the road with the new band MercyMe, who are in need of a lead singer. Their manager Scott Brickell (Trace Adkins) tells him to be authentic and stop running from his past. He then goes home to confront his past and meets his father, who seems to be a different person. It is through this journey that inspires him to write ‘I Can Only Imagine.’
I enjoyed this film a great deal. It did have some pacing issues and only developed the main protagonist, leaving the side characters somewhat flat, but since it is a somewhat biographical film. I would like to praise Dennis Quaid’s performance as Bart’s abusive father. This guy has some excellent acting chops and does the role so well, that he is almost unrecognizable.
It is an inspiring story that is definitely worth seeing. It is well-made, well-told, and well-directed. One a personal note, I would often listen to the song (over and over) when I was feeling down or feeling distant from God. I have heard countless other stories and with these testimonies, no one can deny the impact of the song.
It is strange to me that this particular film is getting some praise from secular critics (and Christians critics being pretentious). “The Erwins’ films — I Can Only Imagine definitely among them — are more inclusive, charitable of spirit and hopeful, all qualities that are always appreciated, be they rooted in Christian faith or otherwise,” writes James Ward of AZCentral. In the same review, he makes fun of other Christians films, but for some reason this one has his attention. Maybe they’re catching on that audiences are not buying their malarkey anymore.
FAVORITE QUOTE: It is “Mercy Me”. Because when I told my Memaw that we were starting a band, she was like “Mercy me, get a real job!” And I was like: “Oh, Memaw.”
PARENTAL CONCERN: Mild disturbing content
Check out the trailer below:
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That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a movie you’d like me to review. Check out my thoughts on the film Quiz Show. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.