Disclosure: We received free tickets to go see this movie in exchange for our first post. This is our review of the movie.
Chefy and I finally got the opportunity to go see I Can Only Imagine, so we saw it at the Northgate Cinema in Durham, NC. We were hoping that we would like the movie as much as we love the song and we were not disappointed.
J. Michael Finley blew us away playing Bart. You could feel everything he was feeling by simply looking at his face. Dennis Quaid did an amazing job in the role of Arthur, Bart's dad. I actually wanted to beat the crap out of him during the better part of the movie. Dennis and J. Michael worked wonderfully together and you could actually believe that they were father and son. Emotions ran rampant when they were together.
When Bart's mom left him behind and Bart ran behind the moving truck, I started bawling and I stayed on that emotional roller coaster the entire movie. I was wanting to take Bart's pain away and give him that hug that he desperately needed. I watched him try to be the man his father wanted/expected him to be, and it was so sad. Nothing he tried ever seemed to work out or be enough. I wanted to take his hand and guide him, the way his mother should have done. Yes, it was that emotional for me.
When Bart finally left home to pursue his dream, Chefy and I were cheering for him all along the way. He had so much going on in his head and he was all over the place with his music. He seemed at ease on the stage, but never more so than when he was singing Christian music. We could really feel the difference. He was only singing the regular songs, but he was feeling the Christian music.
When Bart went back home to try to deal with his feelings for his father and to sort out their relationship, you started to really understand just how complicated it was. At that point, Bart wanted nothing to do with his dad, but when found the letter about his dad's cancer diagnosis, everything changed. The hatred that Bart had for his father was replaced by sympathy, and Bart began to see that his father had changed. Arthur had started to listen to preaching on the radio, which led him to start reading the Bible. God can change anyone. You just have to be open to Him!
Bart and Arthur got to spend time together before Arthur passed away, and that was healing for them both. After his father passed, Bart sat down and wrote this award-winning song, I Can Only Imagine, in just a matter of minutes. It became the first song released by MercyMe.
I am not going to tell you any more about the movie because I don't want to ruin it for everyone. Now I want to explain why it touched me so much.
My daddy was a bit of a wild man when I was a child. He was a good man, but he wanted to do things his way, and he had a temper. My daddy was a drinker and he liked to play poker. My parents actually separated for a few weeks when my brother and I were small. One of the rules my mom had for reconciliation was regular church attendance. Daddy started attending and he started to change. He started to stay at home more and drink less. He started to really read and study his Bible. When things would go wrong, instead of slipping back into bad habits, Daddy stood steadfastly and kept his faith. Over the years, I watched him grow in his faith and I watched how God changed him. Daddy became a preacher when I was a young adult and I was never more proud. He walked the walk and talked the talk.
There are lots of similarities between my dad and Bart's dad, Arthur. Both men had their own issues when they were younger and were hard to live with, and both men turned to God! God redeemed my daddy just like he did Bart's dad, and like Bart, I lost my dad, way too early. BUT, I am thankful that God blessed me with him for 45 years. God came into his heart and changed him. I can only imagine what it will be like when I meet him again in heaven!