I Can Only Imagine Reviews
"I Can Only Imagine" is an inspiring story of a troubled singer trying to find his voice. The film is loosely based on the story of Bart Millard (embodied by musical theater actor J. Michael Finley), singer-songwriter of the Texas band MercyMe, whose abusive father (so brilliantly played by Dennis Quaid) inspired him to write the chart-topping single of the film's title. This faith-building film encourages people to forgive others and never give up on their dreams.
The theme of forgiveness first appears after young Bart attends a Christian youth camp. The preacher explains that we are required to forgive others because God has forgiven us. Later in life, Bart returns home to find his dad a completely changed man who has found Christianity. His father said, "If God can forgive everybody else, why can't He forgive me?" Bart somberly replied "God can forgive you. I can't." Soon after this moment, Bart stormed out of the house only to find pamphlets about his father's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Bart's anger turned to compassion and he returned to his father, forgave him, and over time developed a lasting friendship with him. This turning point in Bart's life encourages audience members to forgive those who have wronged them, and highlights the blessings of doing so.
Not only does the film develop the theme of forgiveness, but also develops the theme of following your dreams. At the beginning of the film, Bart's father, whose dream of becoming a professional football player was cut short by an injury, is found burning his old football trophies and awards. He then forces his son to burn his toys and teaches him that "Dreams don't pay the bills. Nothing good comes from them. All it does is keeping you from knowing what is real." This discouragement and disapproval from his father was prevalent as Bart tried to follow his dream by joining the school play and singing in the church choir. Bart was only met by more rejection as his band, Mercy Me, performed for music producers. Even through all this, Bart never gave up on his dream. After the death of his father, Bart received monthly insurance checks which allowed him to keep writing songs. The last insurance check came the week that his song "I Can Only Imagine" hit number one in America. Bart's perseverance provided him the platform to write the top Christian song of all time.
The best demonstration of Dennis Quaid's acting ability came to life when he tried to gain forgiveness from his son. As a changed man, he attempted to restore his relationship with his son through acts of kindness and was ultimately shut down. Quaid expressed pure anguish and regret as he went to the barn and began smashing the old Jeep he planned on fixing with his son. Being ridden with cancer, he fell to the ground in pain, perfectly showing the vulnerability and humility that his character lacked for so many years. This moment truly shows the raw acting talent of Dennis Quaid.
Overall, what makes this movie special is its encouraging message of forgiveness and dedication to achieving a dream. In today's world, it's hard to find many sources of uplifting entertainment, which makes this film a rarity. It is appropriate for all ages and brings families together. Even though I am not the biggest fan of Christian country music, I certainly gave this movie two thumbs up.