Directed by: Stuart Hazeldine
Starring: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
FA Scorecard: B
What happens when you are so lost in your grief you can’t see anything clearly? This is the idea that is covered by the new theatrical release, The Shack. (Based upon the book of the same name by William P. Young.) Mack Phillips has had to endure unbearable tragedy in his life. From the time he was a young man, his life has been an incredible struggle. And tangled up in all of the pain and anger is his relationship and knowledge of God. This is where we meet him. And you know bad things are about to go down. I’ve never read the book, but even I knew what was going to happen. Every smile. Every snuggle. Every giggle. They were all breathtakingly painful to watch because we know what’s about to happen in Mack’s life. Really – you can’t watch the trailer without knowing that.
When that unspeakable tragedy hits, it makes your stomach churn. That’s not an easy time to sit through this movie and quite frankly, it was one of the reasons I considered not going. I’ve got three kids. I’m really sensitive to these storylines and they almost immediately remove any interest in watching a movie. I STILL won’t let my husband off the hook for having me watch John Wick without telling me
Honestly that traumatized me. So going to a movie with a kid in danger? Totally not my thing. But I braced myself throughout these scenes and powered through. The things I do for you guys….
One day in the middle of a horrible blizzard, a note shows up in Mack’s mailbox. No footprints in the snow. No postmark. Nothing at all except his name and the note. And that note invites him to the very place where the biggest tragedy of his life took place. At first he thinks it’s a joke. Then he thinks it is the person who did awful things to his child. But as crazy as it sounds, he decides to go.
And that’s where…. I’m going to stop my synopsis so I don’t spoil anything. 🙂
Apparently, I am one of the only people on the planet who has not read The Shack. That’s the book that this film was based on if you didn’t know that. It seems like nearly everyone I know has read this book, but I didn’t feel the draw to it like others did. So I went into this movie fresh and with no expectations about anything. From a purely theatrical standpoint, I enjoyed it. I thought it was a gorgeous film with some fabulous cinematography. The casting was spot on and the pacing and direction were great.
As a Christian, I have some other thoughts about the movie which I am going to put into another article. I figure some (probably quite a few!) people might come here to see what I thought of the film but not want to get all the theological ups and downs. So I don’t want to put all of that here. If you are looking for that side of things, click here.
For pure entertainment value, I really liked it. There were just enough funny parts to lift you a bit during this really heavy topic. And as I mentioned above, the film really was gorgeous. I’m not sure how the book handled it, but I will say that there were places where the story bounced around a bit and a couple of times that I had to blink and catch up. (We did have a snafu in the theater where the film shut off at a really key point in the movie – so we lost about 10-15 minutes of it. But hey – we got vouchers when we left!) Other than those couple of times I had to catch up with whether it was a flashback, dream or if it was really happening, I really liked the plot and pacing.
If you read the book and liked it, this will be a must see on your list for sure!
*Thank you KSLR and The Fish San Antonio for the tickets to the early screening.