Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression?Answer
Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it?Answer
|Featuring||Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford, Josh Lucas, Becca Gardner, Morgan Freeman|
|Director||Lasse Hallström (Lasse Hallstrom)|
|Producer||Alan Ladd Jr., Kelly Ann Ladd, Leslie Holleran|
“Every secret takes on a life of its own”
“An Unfinished Life” begins with Jean Gilkyson (Jennifer Lopez) living in a physically abusive relationship. She escapes the situation with her daughter, Griff (Becca Gardner). Their car breaks down irreparably and with funds running low, Jean turns to the only place she can—her father-in-law, Einer Gilkyson (Robert Redford). Jean had been involved in a car accident that killed her husband (Einers son) ten years before, and he was never able to forgive her for that.
Einer has other problems to deal with as well, taking care of his best friend and previously hired-hand. Mitch (Morgan Freeman) was involved in a grizzly bear attack that left him painfully crippled and in need of constant help.
When Jean and her daughter show up, sparks begin to fly. Griff, however, shows her need learn to know the grandfather she never knew she had, and Mitch refuses to let his friend hide from those he should care about.
With its theme of forgiveness, good acting, and beautiful scenic views, this movie could have been one of the years greatest. Unfortunately, it contains many foul words, sexual innuendos, anti-Christian statements, and other negative elements.
The f-word is used within 30 seconds of the opening credits, setting the stage for 60 cuss words to follow. God’s name is misused in several different ways that account for 20 of these—13 of them precede the word d***. There are also statements that encourage anti-Christian sentiment. One of these is when Einer tells Griff that she has to be kind to all visitors at his house, “unless its some guy lookin to sell his version of God,” he says.
The clothing styles are reasonably modest, but there is one scene of implied sex. Sheriff Crane (Josh Lucas) drives Jean to a gravel pit where we hear sounds giving the impression that they are having sex, but the car is viewed from a long distance. Another time, Mitch talks about a dream he had, and implies thinking about oral sex.
There are half a dozen scenes that include violence or threats. Most of these are involve protecting someone. And while no one is ever shot, guns are fired or held in two scenes.
In contrast to the negatives, the theme of forgiveness is presented so well its hard to imagine why all the harmful elements were included. The consequences of the lack of forgiveness are shown through Einer—as he becomes lonely, isolated and bitter. As he learns to forgive, Einer is able to enjoy a relationship with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, as well as everyone else. A couple of times, this bonding is so intense that you may need a handkerchief or Kleenex.
Another positive principle in the movie is the need to speak the truth in love. The love part of this was stretched a little thin a couple of times. Generally, however, “An Unfinished Life” teaches that we are to tell those we care about the truths they need to hear. And we are to do it because we love them. Mitch repeatedly explains to Einer the attitudes needed to be changed in his life. He is stubborn about it at times, but it is always for Einers good.
If you can get past the language, you may find “An Unfinished Life” very moving. The actors and crew did an excellent job of creating a story with a good message; one that not only may make you laugh, cry, but leave you awed at the beautiful scenery in which the film is set.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.