“Unconditional” Love

My friend Darren Moorman was one of the producers of the film, Unconditional.  He’s a hugely talented Christian in the filmmaking industry, and I hope to show some of the short films he has produced — films that were directed by another believing friend of mine, Matt Pope, including one short film for which I wrote the script.

Unconditional released last weekend, but it’s had a tough time penetrating the market.  Christians often express their desire for more uplifting, redemptive stories.  This is a powerful story, well told.  I hope people will give it a shot.  If we don’t show that Christians will come out for redemptive stories, even when they’re so well crafted (it has very positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes), then we’ll continue to face the same problem.

Here’s the trailer:

Most theaters are keeping the film running at least another weekend.  Check out your local listings.

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  • Jeremy Forbing

    Looking at this trailer, I think part of the problem is marketing. The glowing text from a Disney Narnia trailer, the soaring choral music? These things undermine what looks like a complex story that doesn’t wallow in sentimentality. If this had been sold the way Hollywood sold movies like “The Pursuit of Happyness” or the current “Won’t Back Down”, I bet they could’ve put more butts in seats.

  • Timothy Dalrymple

    Yeah, I have to confess I had the same thoughts, Jeremy.

  • There may be a distribution obstacle. In my area (greater Seattle) it appears it’s only playing in one theater. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It will be a bit of a drive, but I’ll try to see it this weekend.

    I wonder about this desire for more uplifting, redemptive films. Didn’t our good friend SK, through one of his pseudonyms, warn that we go to the theater to be edified and to church to be entertained?

  • Tim, I am reminded of your piece when “Soul Surfer” came out, and you wrote opposing the commonly-held idea that movies with a Christian focus are generally inferior in quality than mainstream Hollywood movies. Although I didn’t comment then, I am convinced that Christian-themed movies still fall short, although it’s getting better. This one looks like it has a chance to be better than most. Here’s hoping.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I have really mixed feelings about the whole question.

      As a general rule, I do think Christian subculture movies are not quite up to par with A-list Hollywood movies. Part of that is budget — not being able to afford the finest equipment and the highest-end talent. And part is a focus less on artistry and more on message. Now *I* would like to see *both* message and artistry, and many Christian critics feel the same way. But it’s not nothing to make a movie that inspires men to be better fathers, even if it doesn’t have the greatest special effects.

      My general points are: Christian movies are not as bad as they’re made out to be, and they’ve gotten a lot better. There’s a kind of snobbery, amongst secular reviewers but also amongst high-culture Christians, that is no longer entirely justified. But I think, too, when people compare Christian films with Hollywood films, they tend to idealize Hollywood films. Hollywood makes a lot of awful films. Most, in fact, are not great. And the vast majority of “Hollywood” films are b-movies that go straight to DVD and such. But people don’t seem to have those facts in mind when they make the comparison.

      I guess I want Christian filmmakers to strive for greater virtuosity, I want Christian audiences to know that they needn’t accept all the same criteria that secular critics promote, and I want for critics to give Christian films a fair shot. Some of the reviews of Soul Surfer said a lot more about the critics’ scorn for a certain kind of Christian, and failure to understand a healthy and happy Christian family, than they said about the film itself.