Alone Yet Not Alone Reviews
Even if the words "loosely based" and "historical fiction" were employed here, it still would be grossly inaccurate to what someone might witness if they opted to purchase a ticket to this film. The box office claimed that over 40 tickets has been purchased for the matinee I attended, though only nine were in the theater. I might speculate that churches and Christian organizations might be buying blocks of tickets for the memberships to attend and support this movie. Who knows. If so, it is a terrible waste of the cash in the church coffers. Lauded by conservative groups and Christian organizations for its story of faith through struggle-- it might work as sort of a 700 Club's Best Picture of the year, or double as a midnight movie that causes audiences to break into spontaneous laughter. I suppose that all depends on your point of view. The author of the book--Tracy Leininger Craven--just happens to also be an author of historical fiction... yet *this* is a true story. RIIIiiiiight. She also claims that her grandmother recounted this epic family story to her... which would make her grandmother about 270 years old. She additionally shares that she began the writing of the book when she was just nine years old. Not sure how many revisions it had since...
The film opens with the German immigrant Leininger family fresh off the boat in America. Why choose America? Because America, offers freedom of religion. That--and the fact that stupid Canada will only accept "those Catholics." (Yes, the film opens with a Protestant knock on Catholicism. Yes, really) We see the Leininger's establish their homestead, read the Bible, and smile... a lot. German immigrants have really white teeth for pioneer-types. Seems as if the frontier in 1755 was pretty awesome. Great enough that every line of dialogue seems like a quote from the dust jacket of any book in the inspirational section of Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile--the French and Indian war rages. Native Americans meet with the British but are turned away because... savages. Undaunted, the tribe leaders decide to leave and create an alliance with the French. At this point, the script becomes a sort of selective delivery of historical factoids of the French and Indian War from lots of actors in bad costumes and makeup using terrible accents.
(At this point in the film, my wife turned to me to point out that apparently by the year 1755 the Native Americans had gained complete mastery of the English language. Hmmm. Indeed.)
The two sisters are taken by the Native Americans after their home is raided and their family is killed. They join several other white kids who are summarily marched around in the wilderness by the evil savages for no apparent reason except to wait for someone to escape... so the savages can kill them, of course.
Note: White kids that walk in the forest for days will have lots of dirt on their faces and terribly matted hair. Meanwhile, the indigenous tribal folks' hair suffer no ill effects. It is so crazy how the frontier works.
The sisters are eventually separated for the purposes of the plot and forced to grow up with the Native Americans--who teach them awful skills like planting crops, orienting their way in the wilderness, living off the land, and spiritual values. Savages, no doubt. Young Barbara's hair is painted by the tribe and mud is rubbed on her body so she can "fit in" with the rest of the savages. The film adds the requisite "a few years pass" phrase on screen so they can switch actresses. Too bad, too because the new Barbara Leininger is played by Kelly Greyson and is a far worse actress than her child counterpart. Not only that, but in just a few years, it seems that Barbara's eye color has changed and she has aged a couple of decades. Those few years *can* be tough out there living on the frontier. Also, that hair dye those tribes use is really effective. It seems to have permanently changed Barbara to a brunette. Now posed to marry the chief's son, Barbara attempts to proselytize her future husband. When that doesn't take, there is only one thing left to do: ESCAPE! Barbara and the rest of the Caucasians flee for their lives to the arms of the loving British.
Undaunted by bad costumes, terrible acting, awful accents, and historical inaccuracies ALONE YET NOT ALONE moves from having its audience break out in spontaneous laughter to being offended by its racism. This includes multiple descriptions of the indigenous native Americans as "savages", watching them eat dead field mice, and having nearly every death on screen happen at their hands. Forget that they were being summarily wiped out at even this early stage of American history... never mind that they had a better grasp on food, care of family, and cleanliness. Once Barbara and her friends are rescued by a fort full of soldiers, one British officer offers the girls an extra perk. We know he is British because he is in a red coat of course-- that IS how you know. You sure wouldn't based on the terrible accent. This kind Brit offers for the girls to have a bath. "These women haven't had a hot bath in years after all..."
Except... you know... history.
You see, it was actually the indigenous Native Americans who were known for their attention to grooming and hygiene. It was the Europeans who feared bathing. Oh... pesky details.
Later--after a bath--Barbara is back to being a blonde. I guess that silly tribal hair dye wasn't permanent, after all. Either that or only the soap of white people could wash it out. Not the rivers she swam in just earlier, or just, you know, TIME could wash it out. Barbara's long blonde coif now has beautiful curls as well. It seems the British also had very early versions of curling irons in their remote frontier forts. The more you know...
Later country music singer Clay Walker shows up as Fritz... a neighbor from the past... to marry Barbara. Being that Walker is actually 44 years old, and actress Kelly Greyson looks to be about the same is seems OK...till the script informs us that only about 10 years have passed. Weird that the two of them are the only characters that actually aged though. Mom, brothers, and other characters from the first reel look *exactly* as they did before. The whole aging, hair thing. Tough to get past. Sort of like the rest of the movie.
Finally, Barbara is reunited with her sister Regina that we saw back in the first reel. They find her by singing an old family hymn. Maybe Regina will hear them sing and she will come home. This hymn happens to also be the same song that shares the title of the film and was banned from its Oscar nomination this year for an attempt at cheating the Awards process! So apparently this song attracts wayward family members--just not Oscar votes.
Taken from their families, enslaved for over a decade, and finally reunited. So--sort of like 12 YEARS A SLAVE for white people. Either really offensive or totally hilarious. Sometimes both.
ALONE YET NOT ALONE encapsulates everything that is wrong with Christian filmmaking. Grass roots attempts to see films that are blatantly racist and laughably inaccurate, and a below average cast whose acting ranges from no reaction to EVERY EMOTION IN THE WORLD ALL AT ONCE! It shouldn't even be screened as the TBN movie of the week. Even among its Christian movie peers, ALONE YET NOT ALONE is the least of these. And when I say "least", I mean worst. Don't go see it. Don't support it. It is all that is wrong with the sub genre of "Christian" filmmaking. Leave this one... alone and really alone.
actors or story line, but that when I walked out I felt that it was an
excellent experience, if you go in with high hopes well,,,if you go in
to see a good movie that is what you will get, I still think about this
movie months later and would see it again, it was a true story and
doesn't have Hollywood's slant, I felt the acting was better then good,
storyline was great but no in comparison to a 50-100 million dollar
movie, no, its a medium budget with a lot of solid entertainment and
true meaning that's inspiring,,,wish more movies were like this one,
This is so sad because the creator of this family history had an excellent opportunity to work with something of importance and meaning yet it appears they were in a rush and on a budget that would have made Scrooge jealous. It was as if they either had no idea what a movie is or could have cared less. They simply wanted something to release.
Oh yes, there is one glaring error that becomes incredibly obvious as the audience moves closer to the end of this mess. The perfect, glowing white teeth of all of the actors. I suppose I missed that in my detailed study of the period. I wonder who the dentists were who provided the perfect lamineer finish for all the brilliant grill-work.
This is the first movie I've been to in several years that I thought I was going to walk out on in the first thirty minutes. I wouldn't waste your time.