I was scanning through my fire tv programming to find a faith-based film, for my Movie Reviews section this week, and just happened to see one of my blogger friends; Mitch Teemley, in the trailer of Promises to Keep. My first reaction was “I am going to kill him, he snuck this one in on me.” But, to my chagrin, curiosity got the better of me—I had to watch and see. I’ve seen his work behind the camera (Healing River), but not in front of it. So this was really creme brulee for me!
What do you do when your best friend’s dying wish is for you to take care of his wife—a woman he knew you never stopped loving? And in that dying wish also forgave a man, you didn’t even know? Sometimes secrets should not be kept, because we walk around with unforgiveness, preconceived ideologies and guilt as baggage that either stalls us or makes us hold back truths, which causes harm to us and others whether we know it or not. Occasionally, these actions cause our past to come back and haunt us. And when those skeletons start coming out of the closet we wish they would stop.
That’s what happened to our leading man, Jonathan Michaels (Mitch Teemley), while sitting around a table in their store. Thomas Goodman (Chuck Gillespie) finally got the annulment papers from the church. He is so happy. But that happiness is short-lived because in the jubilation he succumbs to a heart attack. Evelyn (Christine Jones) left her Catholic faith to marry him, a divorcé. Those annulment papers proved once and for all, before God and men, that his marriage to Evelyn was an honorable one. Thus, opening the door for her return to the church and her faith.
Jonathan tries to check on Evelyn who says, “Jonathan, you know he’s not even cold yet.” Closing the door in his face as he simply tries honoring his friend’s request. Jonathan walks away hurt and befuddled.
When Evelyn finds out her son, Aaron (Warren Bryson), is seeing Jonathan’s daughter, Lisa, (Arizona Craycraft). She hits the roof and goes over to the store to confront Jonathan, with the intent of coercing him into breaking them up. But, in the process of wine tasting, ends up rekindling their old romance.
When Aaron informs his mom he and Lisa had another fight, she tells him, “She’s a Mitchell, they’re nothing but trouble they’re too Catholic!” While she is falling in love again with Jonathan. Which brings about a lot of fall-out. Secrets Thomas kept from Evelyn. Secrets Evelyn kept from her son and Jonathan. And a secret Jonathan kept from his daughter. How do you find your faith and truth when it’s buried beneath so many secrets? How do you find those things that matter when they’ve been buried for so long?
This is the kind of movie that is given to you in layers. If you leave the room and come back you are sure to miss something. The storyline is about forgiveness, rediscovering the truth, unconditional love and finding happiness. When God grants us second chances in life, we need to live those moments as if our lives depended on it. Because none of us knows what tomorrow holds.
Will Evelyn return to her faith? Will Jonathan and Evelyn find their lost love? Will all those secrets end in happiness? I just can’t reveal the spoilers—I said enough already, there is more than one. You simply must watch the movie to find out.
But I can say, this movie really began with Jonathan, who never stopped praying for Evelyn to come back to the church. And ends with Jonathan sitting on a bench reminiscing about the past—soliloquizing hypotheticals with his loved ones. Sometimes life deals us a peculiar hand. And it is how we play that hand, in faith, with patience, love and understanding that determines the outcome.
Although Evelyn was the main character in this film, to me, Jonathan carried the movie and was the adhesive that held it together. Combined with layering the secrets, it kept the movie interesting.
This movie was released Sept. 2020, is 94 minutes long and has not been rated. Promises To Keep may be seen on Amazon Prime, Tubi and IMDb.
We give Promises to Keep
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