The Identical – Opens This Weekend
Faith-Based Films on the increase
Faith-based films are continually coming to the big screen. This year alone films like, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real, Mom’s Night Out and When The Game Stands Tall have already made an impact across the nation. Why does NCMM and DMM care about faith based films? NCMM/DMM believes that one of the ways we can impact culture is to make a difference within the culture. That doesn’t mean that we advocate a syncretistic mindset, or the fusion of our faith and the world. No, we need to continue to stand firm for the Gospel. But, we are told that we are IN the world, just not OF the world. And, to be IN the world means we must know how and what the world is doing. They are asking questions. They are making claims. Who is there to defend the truth with love and grace? We are. In our homes, our workplaces, our churches and our communities–men of God.
Films reach into places that sermons, devotional Bible studies and even mom and dad are unable to at times. Movies always tell a story. And we love story. We were made for story. The Bible is a complete story from Genesis to Revelation that tells the story of God–Man–Jesus–Cross–Redemption. It’s the journey from beginning to end that is chronicled and grabs our attention while capturing our minds and hearts. Story speaks to our souls. So, films have a profound power to speak a message without directly articulating that message which seeps into our minds and influences us without us even really knowing we’ve been moved a certain direction. And, that makes an impact on viewers, especially the youth and young adults. Movies are the most impacting media channel for our younger generation.
Sharing a message of hope
The good news is that we are seeing more quality films with a principled message being produced and released. Not all films take the same angle when it comes to conveying the theme or message as it relates to Biblical truth. Some take a moral issue like abortion and weave it into the film without ever holding up a sign of protest or citing Roe v. Wade, like October Baby did. Others are more overt in their presentation of the Gospel and make it very evident within the story of the film like Fireproof and Courageous have done. Still others would be considered being on the fringe of being faith-based but still convey a biblical truth without scriptural reference. The Identical would fall into that type of film.
It’s taken an issue that most, if not all of us inside (and outside) the Church have personally dealt with at some level, i.e., where do we find our identity. This is a central issue for each of us as we mature. For the Believer, we are told our identity is found in Christ. The world tries to find its identity usually by what they do or how successful they become. Two completely different tracks coming from the same issue…who are we and why does that matter. In fact the Westminster Catechism starts with that issue, “What is the chief end of man?” or rephrased, “Why are we here?”
The Identical is a powerful story about choices. Hard choices. Tony Dungy saw the film and said this about the movie,
“The Identical is a powerful story about adoption, identity and ultimately, forgiveness.” Tony Dungy about The Identical.
Set in the Depression era, the film begins with a young married couple trying to figure out how they can make life work with no work–no money and having just had twin boys. Ray Liotta (known for his roles as a tough guy) plays the role of a preacher who roves with revivals throughout the South. The father of the twins makes a very hard decision to give up one of his boys to the preacher after hearing him at a revival share that he and his wife were unable to birth a baby on their own. So, twin boys grow up in different homes and circumstances. One becomes a huge music celebrity (looks and sounds a lot like Elvis Presley) while the other starts down the path his father wants him to go–follow in his footsteps speaking from the pulpit. The problem is that he is also gifted with the voice of a star but who doesn’t know how he will be able to fulfill his dreams while pursuing his fathers dreams for him.
Overall, the story has some great music (especially if you like Elvis). It’s actually a mix of Elvis-like music with a contemporary twist. In fact, you can download one of the songs for free from their website here. In addition to Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Sean Green also play significant roles in the film. From a cinematic view, the film is nicely shot. As you can tell from the stills and clips, it has a vintage look to it and that was consistent throughout the film. From an entertainment perspective, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it and highly recommend that you go.
Opening weekend is crucial
In fact, I’d highly encourage you to go this weekend. Why? Because, as I mentioned at the outset the impact of film on our youth requires us to ensure that faith-based films are making inroads into the Hollywood limelight. And, the best way to do that is to go opening weekend. Those are always the numbers that Hollywood and theater managers look at to determine how long those films will be in the theaters. The longer the film is in theaters, the more theaters will pick it up and also directly impacting DVD sales (read–IMPACT).
So, between tonights high school football games, Saturday afternoon college football and the NFL kicking off this weekend, take a couple of hours to get off the couch and put the chips down and exchange them for a bucket of popcorn and a seat in front of a GIANT screen with The Identical playing on it. Then, let us know what you thought. Be a part of encouraging more talented filmmakers to make films that bring a message of hope, truth and ultimately of God’s love. Everytime you go to the theater to support a faith-based film, especially on opening weekend, you are casting a vote for family (and Biblical) values. Join Tony Dungy and thousands of others who will see The Identical this weekend. Find a theater that’s playing it near you!