Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
Romance Fantasy Mystery Drama Adaptation
1 hr. 58 min.
Year of Release:
February 14, 2014 (wide—2,750+ theaters)
Good vs. Evil
battle between good and evil
Satan in the Bible
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
Tribulations of life
young dying girl
Issue of pain and suffering
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
“This is not a true story. It’s a love story.”
This movie is not what you might expect it to be. It is presented as a love story, and it is, but it is also magical and has the forces of good and evil, complete with Lucifer himself.
Infant Peter Lake is set into the ocean in a hollowed-out model ship, just big enough to hold him. He is pulled from the water in Brooklyn NY in 1895. A con man with a knack for fixing machinery, he ends up in trouble with crime boss Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe—“Gladiator”). After a white horse mysteriously appears and aides Peter (Colin Farrell—“Total Recall”) in escaping Pearly, Peter decides he’s leaving town… after one more fateful job.
During a break in, he finds he is not alone in the home. The homeowner’s daughter, Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay—TV’s “Downton Abbey”) is home sick with consumption. After realizing Peter is not a threat to her safety, Beverly invites him for tea. There is an undeniable mutual attraction, and Peter finds himself unable to leave town.
The first real introduction of a magical element occurs while Pearly Soames is talking business with one of his underlings. He speaks of people wanting miracles, stealing, and why, in particular, he steals gems. He says it is because of how they hold the light, and he walks to a plate of beautiful, colorful jewels of various sizes. The jewels pick up the light just so and reflect an image of Penn Station, giving away Peter’s location.
Later, when Pearly goes to a restaurant, he becomes angered that he cannot get the meal of his choice and in a flash, fiery scars appear on his face, and he stabs his server. Just as quickly, the scars disappear. That was my next, “Oh, this movie is NOT what I thought” moment. I expected the magical aspect, but this scene was something unexpected and indicated that Pearly Soames was not what he seemed, and there was something more going on. That, in part, is what I like so much about this film. It is different and a surprise, combining elements in an intriguing way.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, because it is unique, in my opinion. It has some unexpected turns, while also having some elements you can easily figure out. But part of the fun of watching a movie is seeing what happens and how, and if I give too much away, it spoils the movie-going experience. Suffice it to say, it’s more than a love story between a man and a woman. It is a story about love and miracles.
There is some offensive content. The foul language is far less than average, with 2 SOBs, 1 “G*d-d**n,” “sh*t” (2), “Jesus” (1), “Oh J*sus” (1), “Jesus Mary and Joseph” (1). There is a naked silhouette of a woman, as well as a sex scene. No nudity is shown in the sex scene, but they are shown under covers. Violence includes the aforementioned stabbing in the restaurant, which is so quick that one questions what just happened, as well as some fighting and shoot outs. A small drawing is done in blood, which could be a bit disturbing. Other than that, I don’t recall any bloodshed.
There are some New Age ideologies present, such as the film stating that when we die, we become stars, and we are all light. There are a number of comments about the universe and our part of it. In addition, Lucifer, demons and good vs. Evil are a theme in the film.
On a positive note, there are many comments or narratives that I like; I simply chose to replace the role of the universe in these comments with the love of our God. When speaking about mankind, one says “We keep losing them. They pass hope back and forth like the flu at a preschool fair.” As Christians, we hold on to God and His promises and our hope in Him, and we pray that the forces of evil are “losing” people to God’s salvation. “The universe loves us all equally. We are all special. No life is without purpose.” There are so many comments in the movie like this that I love, but they fall short—it is not the universe that loves us, it is God. And every life and soul is special, and we do all have purpose. John 3:16 reminds us that “God so loved the WORLD”…. Not just some, but all. All are loved and special.
In the film, because of their love and Beverly’s miracle, Peter is able to fulfill his own purpose and truly show that, as Pearly says “It’s the ripples that give work meaning.” There are ripples to all our actions, all we say and do, which we may or may not ever see; therefore, be kind because you want the ripples you leave to be positive. Matthew 5:14 tells us “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” May the ripples we all leave have an eternal effect leading to God.
I recognize people have different convictions in regards to what they deem acceptable in entertainment. I do think that those who are very conservative may be offended by the presence of Lucifer and a demon, as well as the ideology of the plan of the universe. Personally, I enjoyed the movie. I always like it when a movie is a bit different, and this one surprised and entertained me. If you like a bit of whimsy, fantasy magic and love, all the while battling the evil forces against us, I think you will like this film.
Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
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