This fantasy story takes place in a broken-down rural Texas town where people are being evicted from their homes and farms, others are ill, lack faith, or face other challenges.
Then into their midst comes a 12-year old boy who utters words of faith to encourage and invite people to faith. All he will say is, “I am Gabriel.”
He then proceeds, in an attitude of severe humor deprivation, to be a voice of encouragement to the good towns people. And he knows things about them no one else does; he can see the sorrows in their hearts.
Mike Norris – son of Chuck Norris, Texas Ranger, directs the film.
While there is a good heart at the center of this film, the story is so sanitized as to render Christianity mostly white, boring, and unbelievable.
With the exception of Dean Cain, who we know from his Superman days, as the sheriff, and John Schneider, that you will recognize from “Smallville,” and more recently from “October Baby”, as the town doctor, the acting and therefore the directing, is flat and stiff.
Gavin Casalegno, now 12 years old, is the blue-eyes cherubic Gabriel. I wonder if this role is the one that earned him a role in Darren Aronofsky’s big-budget epic Biblical film “Noah” due in 2014. I bet not.
Actually, none of “I am Gabriel” rings believable except for the dire circumstances in which the people find themselves. The ending is straight out of a primary school play.
Only a kind imagination would give this film a pass, and I am not feeling all that neighborly to the “Christian film” genre anyway. It’s this kind of heavenly hash “message movies” that make Christians and our beliefs a target for late night comics.
A film is not “good” by what it lacks. It is “good” if the story is compelling and told in a compelling way.
Good art = good theology (cf. Flannery O’Connor).