The River Within - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The River Within Reviews

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½ March 15, 2011
If you are a young professional, teenager, parent, grandparent, teacher or just interested in the challenges some adults and children face these days, this movie is for you. It shows the many different elements that our children face in the world today and how adults can help to facilitate them in making the right choices in life and learn about their own relationships at the same time.
The River Within has a very relatable story of a young man who has graduated Law School moves home to his small town for the summer to study for his upcoming bar examination. He reconnects with old friends. When he encounters David, played by Craig Morris, a local small church minister, his life changes forever! He accepts a part time job as youth director for this small church. Davie reconnects with Paul, played by Craig Luttrell, a should have been actor who have returned from LA and Layla, played by Jaclyn Friedlaner, an old friend. Layla just happens to have had a childhood crush on Jason and it reignites with them reconnecting. This sends her engagement plans into a frenzy. David, as the youth minister, gets to know students personally and learns of their personal struggles. During this time, Jason discovers he has a passion that he didn‚(TM)t know existed within him.
As Jason says in this movie,‚? I believe that God is always at work in the world around us.‚?The River Within explores the idea that each of our lives has a purpose! The story is an uplifting story of struggle and triumph.
The movie was was filmed in Northeast Arkansas in the summer of 2008. You will be able to see true natural beauty and historical building while this touching story is acted out.
I would highly recommend this movie to everyone!!
September 15, 2010
This movie avoided the cheesy, Christian, cliche-ness most religious movies have. It had a very stripped feel, largely in part because of the extremely low budget of the movie, which worked in its favor. It also tackled issues not usually addressed in Christian films. Bravo.
June 23, 2010
This movie has a wonderful lesson to be learned by us all.
June 6, 2010
An hour and 32 minutes of my life watsed
May 5, 2010
I find this interesting.
½ January 23, 2010
Not usually a fan of faith-based movies, but this one was alright. Pretty good, actually. It suffers from typical low-budget issues (no name actors, rough sound, etc.) but the story was realistic and good. The movie has a definite Christian message, but never feels preachy. I found many of the situations to be very relatable, and even cried twice towards the end. Definitely worth the watch if you are looking for something that is "family friendly".
January 22, 2010
While this movie suffers somewhat from budget issues (occasional sound glitch, a couple of rough transitions, an obviously non-professional supporting cast), it is one of the better, and possibly the best Faith-based film I have seen in a long time. The story line was well developed and has a fantastic payoff and was not at all cheesy (a rarity for the genre). The cinematography is at times wonderful. The lead actors are solid. And the music was pretty good, too.
The message challenges the church to be more transparent and attentive to those within their sphere of influence (which I found to be very relevant), and it is delivered in such a way that both convicts and uplifts the viewer.
Definitely worth the watch- especially if you are looking for something that is family friendly.
½ December 23, 2009
Ordinary people with ordinary problems makes for an ordinary movie. It's an extremely well acted picture with some nice cinematography, but when there's nothing that makes the story out of the ordinary you've gotta ask what the point is. It's dealings with people, faith, and situations are all as to be expected. Nothing surprises in terms of story... and it needs a better score.
November 15, 2009
"The River Within" is, at it's most basic, a film about small town life and the confusion of trying to find your place in this world. It's, by far, the most worthwhile film I've seen in quite a few years dealing with those subjects.

The most admirable thing about "The River Within" is that, unlike most films of its kind, "TRW" truly captures the essence of a small town and the lives of the people in it. Being from Small Town, USA, myself and others become really critical of how films portray the people and locale, and "TRW" does a fine job of that. It's realistic and unbiased in its portrayal of the lives of these people.

The characters, most especially Paul and David, are solid. While watching the film, it's easiest to connect with these two and their different problems.That's another thing that's admirable about "TRW;" the problems are relatable to most everyone, whether you grew up in a rural, urban, or suburban community. Everyone knows someone who's dealt with the loss of a family member, or an unplanned pregnancy, or an oppressive parent, or small-town or church politics getting in the way, or regretting never following their dreams.

David, the church pastor, is a good man, but he's not infallible. He's real, he has complications, and he's blind to them. I'm sure plenty of actual church pastors are much like him and find themselves in those situations sometimes. The actor, Craig Morris, fills the David role perfectly. The other truly great character, Paul, has is own set of issues that are revealed in time, and the way actor Craig Luttrell hints at the problems before they finally surface is very good. This is better noticed on a second viewing. Genre limitations aren't as prevalent in "TRW," and I think that's what makes these characters better than their counterparts.

The film is beautifully directed by first-time-director, Zac Heath, and nearly all of the acting is spot on. It has its shortcomings here and there, but for the small budget and genre limitations, the film is among the best of its kind. It brings to mind tiny films like "Paranormal Activity," "El Mariachi," and "The Blair Witch Project." Not that "The River Within" is like any of those films subjectively, it's just that they all have that really-good-for-the-budget feel, and they're landmarks in their genres. "TRW" feels like it could be the beginning of a genre transformation.

Overall, the film has a great story, events, and characters. It's nice to see a tiny film be so engrossing and effective.
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