The Shack (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Shack (2017)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The Shack's undeniably worthy message is ill-served by a script that confuses spiritual uplift with melodramatic clichés and heavy-handed sermonizing.

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Movie Info

Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, The Shack takes us on a father's uplifting spiritual journey. After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips [Sam Worthington] spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa [Octavia Spencer]. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.

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Cast

Sam Worthington
as Mack Phillips
Radha Mitchell
as Nan Phillips
Tim McGraw
as Willie
Amélie Eve
as Missy Phillips
Megan Charpentier
as Kate Phillips
Gage Munroe
as Josh Phillips
Ryan Robbins
as Emil Ducette
Derek Hamilton
as Mack's Dad
Jordyn Ashley Olson
as Emily Ducette
Lane Edwards
as Officer Dalton
Carson Reaume
as Young Mack
Laura MacKillop
as Amber Ducette
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News & Interviews for The Shack

Critic Reviews for The Shack

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (17)

If Octavia Spencer is God, then Lord, take me to church.

March 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's one of those movies where you'll either decide to give in right away and sob for two hours straight or opt to fight it while your resentment slowly simmers to a rolling boil.

March 3, 2017 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Based on the sleeper bestseller by Canadian author William P. Young, The Shack offers an enlightening - if dispiriting - vantage on contemporary, non-denominational Christianity.

March 3, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

The Shack wants to be a sincere exploration of faith and forgiveness but somehow manages to be both too innocuous and too off-putting for its own good.

March 3, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

"The Shack" is a grief-packed journey through loss, bargaining and acceptance that feels like an overly long church sermon.

March 3, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Most of its running time is taken with mollifying conversations between Mack and the movie's New Age-meets-Bible Belt oversimplifications of the Holy Trinity. It fits right into a long tradition of quasi-mystical pseudo-parables.

March 2, 2017 | Rating: D | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Shack

½

When it comes to faith-based movies, especially those based on best-selling books, you know that they're going to be preaching to the choir and more determined to give its intended audience the message it wants first; everything else is secondary. With The Shack, I got the start of an interesting film scenario and then it became the most boring, laborious, and theologically trite Ted Talk ever. I was fighting to stay awake and it was a battle that I was losing. The opening twenty minutes presents a story with dramatic possibility: Mack (Sam Worthington) is a family man who is grieving the loss of his youngest daughter. On a camping trip, she was abducted by a pedophilic murderer and killed in a shack in the woods. Mack is a shell of himself and his family doesn't know how to reach him. He gets a mysterious invitation from "Papa," his wife's nickname for God, inviting him to the murder shack. So far so good. There's even a fairly interesting back-story for Mack about his alcoholic and abusive father. Young Mack eventually poisoned his bad dad's drinks with hazardous chemicals to protect he and his mother. However, all remote sense of entertainment is snuffed out once Mack enters the confines of the titular shack. Inside are human avatars for the Holy Trinity of Christianity, with Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer serving as a homespun "Papa." The next 100 minutes is a series of talk show interview segments with each person to engage in full on flimsy spiritual psycho-babble to explain why God lets bad things happen and forgiveness is key. The movie stops being a dialogue and becomes a lecture series, and each one just kept going on and on. The characters stop being characters and become different mouthpieces for the spiritual cliches. It's like the filmmakers threw up their hands and gave up. This is not a movie. It's a inspirational exam told by the most cloying professors. The lessons learned feel trite (who are you to judge, God is with you through good times and bad) and the movie curiously leaves a lot of dramatic implications unresolved. Did Mack kill his father with the poisoned drink? Did this killer pedophile ever get caught, and if not doesn't that mean other children are at risk? It's like once Mack enters that mystical murder cabin, the movie loses any sense of structure, pacing, stakes, and dramatic propulsion, and that's before the silly race across the water with Jesus. I would also say Worthington (Avatar) is not the best choice as the lead actor due to his limited dramatic range and growl-pitched voice. Other movies have dealt with heavy loss but rarely has one felt so detached from making that loss personable and empathetic. The Shack is a maudlin fable that wants to make people feel good even during the dark times. That's admirable but it doesn't make this 135-minute sermon any more of a worthwhile movie to watch. Nate's Grade: C-

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

If you want to make your Friday more interesting, how about you go see either a different movie or just do whatever you do in common because The Shack isn't worth seeing or even worth sending a little penny. I'm like serious, The Shack never attempts to shine in any sort of way and the actors were killing themselves during production of this film.

EpicLadySponge the Adventurer
EpicLadySponge the Adventurer

Super Reviewer

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