Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

What If…

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Angela Bowman

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Adults Teens
Christian Drama Comedy
1 hr. 58 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 20, 2010
DVD: March 1, 2011
Copyright, Christiano Film Group click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group Copyright, Christiano Film Group
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Christiano Film Group





INVESTING—Does the Bible share any wisdom about investing? Answer

Christian living

What advice do you have for new and growing Christians? Answer

CHANGE THE WORLD—A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God’s help…
Jesus Christ, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David

Angels in the Bible

What else does the Bible teach about angels? Answer

ANXIETY, worry and fear—What does the Bible say? Answer

To learn about other Christian produced movies, see our Christian Film News site.

Learn how to be more effective in evangelism
Stumped about how to share your faith in Christ with others? Our site assists Christians in effectively reaching out to others with love and truth. Learn about the worldview of the people you meet, ways to share the gospel, read stories submitted by site users, and more.
Featuring: Kevin Sorbo (Ben Walker)—“Hercules’ TV series, Hallmark’s “Avenging Angel”

John Ratzenberger (Mike the Angel)—“Cheers” TV series, Pixar films

Kristy Swanson (Wendy Walker)—“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series, “Big Daddy”

Debby Ryan (Kimberly Walker)—Disney Channel’s “Suite Life on Deck”

Kristin Minter (Cynthia), Stelio Savante (Joel Muller), more »
Director: Dallas Jenkins
Producer: 10 West Studios, Jenkins Entertainment, Dallas Jenkins, Jerry B. Jenkins, David A.R. White, more »
Distributor: Christiano Film Group

“What if… God gave you a second chance…”

Fifteen years ago, Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo) set out for a promising career in the city. Leaving behind his love (Wendy, played by Kristy Swanson) and his faith, he traded God’s plan for his life for his own; spiritual success for worldly gain. But then God steps in, and gives Ben a chance to see how his life could have been. Much like “The Family Man” (with Nicholas Cage), Ben is thrown into a life already in progress; where he had alternately chosen to stay, marry Wendy and become a minister.

“What If…” is a beautiful and humorous film that poignantly speaks to the heart what is truly important in life; love and relationship (most importantly, relationship with Jesus).

Ben is warned that he can’t understand the value of what God has to offer until he surrenders and embraces this new world. How can you know love if you are fighting against it? The word “embrace” stuck in my mind as I recalled the times I’ve fought against God, thinking He was giving me something inferior to what I wanted, only to realize later that what He was giving me was so much more that I could ever imagine.

It is difficult to condense everything “What If…” has to take in. Not only is it challenging and entertaining for Christians—and presents the gospel clearly for nonbelievers, but it opens so many doors for Biblical interest and conversation after the film.

As an (amateur) apologist, I especially enjoyed a line that incorporated the illogical, “rock so big that God cannot lift” question, but there are many scripture and theological points and references as well that can be expounded afterward. While there were a few things that could have been left out, overall I found it to be both engaging and heartwarming. With the constant bombardment of the world, advertisements, technology and social status competition or envy we have with or for the people around us, it reminds us that these things mean nothing and that the real treasure lies in our relationships with God and with our families.

Possible content issues

Sexuality: There are a few kisses between engaged/married couples. Cleavage—a female character wears a low-cut dress in one scene. A verbal recollection which included a woman in a bikini (not shown).

Language: None. (There is a reference to hell, but not used as a curse word.)

Drugs/Alcohol: Verbal references to alcoholic beverages. What appeared to be a champagne bottle in the background of one scene.

Violence: Because Ben is uncooperative, the angel hits him a couple of times, it is not done in anger or malice but as a means of knocking him out for the purpose of sending him to the alternate reality.

Other: Ben secretly invests in stock. This could be viewed as unethical or a type of gamble, as he uses all of the money from his family’s account without his wife’s knowledge to invest in stock that he has privileged information about from his past and isn’t completely assured that it will work out. I have to say that this did bother me as he appeared to be rewarded for it and also because for this scene it shifted the focus from God providing, to man providing—and that money is still the answer. While God may choose to help us with money at times, He doesn’t always work this way, yet it seems to be the way most people expect Him to.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I saw this movie at the theater three times. Three separate times, as it was my way of supporting this film and anxiously waited for it to be released on DVD. I have seen it 3 more times. I loved it, from beginning to end. Beautiful ending. I will buy the DVD and am sure will watch it again and again, whenever I want to watch a Christian movie that is wholesome, entertaining, and encouraging, funny, and romantic. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I keep recommending this movie to everyone I know and work with.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Scott Kloian, age 60 (USA)
Positive—This was a refreshing trip to the movies. What a good movie to support the family and values, and, of course, Jesus Christ. I always support Christian movies, because I want them to keep coming.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Geraldine, age over 50 (USA)
Positive—This is a terrific Christian movie that fully supports traditional family values! It’s clean, Biblical, and promotes Christ’s work here on Earth. I rate it two thumbs up and five stars. Some of my friends have already seen it twice! A definite must see for all movie goers, Christian and non-Christian alike.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Leslie Yanagi, age 39 (USA)
Positive—I hadn’t heard of this movie before I went with a group of peers. I was pleasantly surprised that even with veteran actors heading the cast, they weren’t the focus of attention (as with Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”), which let the thought-provoking message come through. I applaud the inclusion of pre-marital counseling and the point of considering the seriousness of commitment to the challenges of marriage, “rather than the color of bridesmaids dresses.” A hometown feel with some humor. Biblical quotations were accurate, and the girls were darling. The director is Dallas Jenkins, son of “Left Behind” co-author Jerry Jenkins.

I rated it slightly objectionable for a couple of questionable and items—1.) a few scenes of inappropriate costuming (exposed sports bra under a sundress and low-cut top on the minister’s wife character and bare midriff on older daughter character) 2.) out-of-wedlock pregnancy may have been implied by the engaged couple stating they bought a minivan prior to being married.

But, overall, I highly recommend this film on the level of Sherwood Pictures and will probably own it when it’s out on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Wendy, age 48 (USA)
Positive—This movie is fantastic, as an actor myself, I tend to judge critically. Kevin and Kristy did a wonderful job, as did John Ratzenberger. The message in this movie was clear and well presented. My Hope is that more Christian movies will be produced at this quality level. I left behind the secular world of acting, as I couldn’t serve Christ there. Hopefully, this industry will flourish, allowing others who love acting to serve their Lord with the talents given.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Benjamin Bates, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I liked the “It’s a Wonderful Life” feel of this movie. While John Ratzenberger might not have been as memorable as Clarence, his angel was still very likeable. The acting in this movie was much better than other small Christian films… although I could have done without Debby Ryans” typical portrayal of the bratty teenage daughter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Fiona Harris, age 19 (USA)
Positive—God has declared that we will reap what we sow. Galatians 6:7—Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Although Ben Walker did get a chance to have a “do over” in “What If,” it did not come without a price. He did find that there were a lot of what most would think are “wasted years” but even then… GOD… I am not only reminded of a promise from GOD that was seen in “What If” but I have personally seen it in my life that GOD is able to restore what the kanker worm has eaten.

Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten Just as Joseph stated when his brothers realized who he was, what satan intended for evil, GOD is able to use for good. Of course, this does not give us a reason to do wrong things so that we can see how GOD can make something good out if it but it does give so many of us hope. Ben saw this hope and accepted it.

more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Pastor Ken, age 64 (USA)
Positive—I am really surprised that [the reviewer]… only gave this movie 3 stars. This was a fantastic movie. The acting was superb, and the story line was excellent. I came across this movie when I happened to be looking for a movie to watch on Netflix. I thought that it was going to be another chick flick, but I was pleasantly surprised. When I have guests over, I often suggest we watch this movie. The acting, in my humble opinion, was better than most Hollywood movies. Christian movies keep getting better and better…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Paul, age 50 (USA)
Neutral—One of the things that I didn’t like about the film was that it was kind of a copy of “Family Man.” It had almost the same story. The second thing is that investing in stocks to show his ability to make money in order to help the church out was not a good thing to share in a movie that intends to bring churchgoers to the movie theaters. And my final point is that the struggle he had to be convinced or forced to give in for him to then decide to get out of this deal, didn’t make to much spiritual sense to me.

Other than that it is always good to do Gods work His way in order to be blessed. The film at the end does wrap it up the way it should always be for those who are followers of Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ozzie Barletta, age 52 (USA)


Comments from young people