A gentleman stopped by my website the other day and posted a like to my Heavens to Betsy 2 movie review. When I found out who he was it humbled me and yet made me feel fantastic at the same time. He is none other than Mitch Teemley. An award winning producer, writer, director with such films (shorts) to his credit as Grace 101, Jesus GO! and Welcome to Church: No Luggage Required.
With all his titles and accolades the one that most impressed me was Jesus follower. Since all I review are faith-based films, I had to watch Healing River (formerly titled Over-the-Rhine), which he wrote, directed and scored.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”— C.S. Lewis
This is the foundational principle of the entire film. A widowed mother’s only son, is taken from her by a troubled drug-addicted teen as he’s walking home from work. The irony—she had Michael (Spencer Lackey) close shop because she was trying to delay his leaving home, to protect him from the world.
After being thoroughly disappointed by the court system; in which she had so much faith. Ingrid (Christine Jones) and her brother Father Peter, are left standing alone; in a courthouse foyer darkened by disgust and disappointment. She is so enraged by the judge’s verdict her guilt and hurt now turn to revenge. She is seeking to do anything she can to alleviate the pain she feels every day. Even if it means stalking Michael’s killer.
An uncle, Peter (Michael Wilhelm), who is a Catholic priest and a mother, Ingrid who is a woman of faith. What do you do when you come face to face with true Christian demands—what you’ve been taught? It’s easy to say you are a man or a woman of faith. But it’s a whole other world when you have to live it.
Peter responds by going into the church and telling God, “The well is dry and I’m dry. How can I give what I don’t have to give?”
When Peter decides to shut down the “so-called” self-help group created to appease his sister. He tells her, “Justice without mercy is revenge! God doesn’t want that!” Ingrid replies, “Well it’s what I want!”
When you are drowning in a river of unforgiveness, with your arms flailing about grasping for the type of help you want. It takes God to help you realize you are drowning because you refuse to let go of the hurt, rage, hate and vindictiveness you’re trying to hold onto while swimming back to shore. Forgiveness is a life preserver.
Put on your seat belt because this movie is going to take you through a roller-coaster ride of emotions; some understandable and others quite unexpected. There are so many twists and turns you will not believe the outcome! But you will have to watch the movie to find out.
A broken guitar, representing years of guilt, carried by a young man (Alec) wearing a mask covering the hurt and pain nobody wanted to know about. “A kid drowning in his own guilt and he won’t let anyone take it away from him and so I’m praying that you can.” “I’m not in the business of saving.”
This isn’t a Hollywood movie. No, this is a real come to Jesus movie about God’s power of restorative justice through our obedience. Because impossible love is the only love that has the ability to not only forgive. But, can redeem, through true forgiveness and mercy, those we think are the most untouchable. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten so that whoso believeth in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
If you have been or are, wrestling with the thought of unforgiveness, please watch this film. This is a must see just on Christian principle. Healing River is cross-denominational. The soundtrack is amazing. The lyrics speak such truth.
Just released on May 15, 2020. The movie is 100 minutes long and is rated PG 13. Can be rented on Amazon Prime for $4.99 and purchased for $9.99.
We give Healing River