A Christian Christmas Carol
Chris (Cameron Deane Stewart) and his sister, Grace (Savannah McReynolds), were raised by loving, hardworking, Christian parents who always made sure that they not only appreciated what they had but that they were obligated to help those less fortunate than themselves. But for Chris everything changed the day his parents and little sister were killed in a car crash as he not only felt like he should have been in the car with them but he turns against God as he can't understand why he would take his family. Throwing himself in to running the air charter service his father built up Chris turns into a ruthless, hard hearted workaholic who has no time for the charities which were once dear to the family or the friends he once cared about. But after a stressful Christmas Eve in the office Chris returns to the large but empty house he inherited and finds himself confronted by someone dear to him from his past that makes him face the truth about what he has become.
This is the second time I have reviewed "By God's Grace" as after watching it a second time and reading what I had previously written I felt compelled to write a new version. You see, when I first reviewed "By God's Grace" I was distracted by the fact this looked like a movie where a big chunk of budget went on making the poster look good and the actual movie was flawed with distracting production issues. Now whilst I can't lie and tell you that those flaws were just in my imagination the first time around, I can say that issues such as some weak acting and cheesy scenes were less of a problem the second time. In fact the second viewing allowed me to be touched "By God's Grace" and the various messages this movie wants to get across,
Now as my title hinted, and in fairness gave the game away, "By God's Grace" is very much a Christian take on the classic "A Christmas Carol". As such that visitor from Chris's past is his little sister and she takes him firstly on a trip down memory lane looking through the family album and remembering what their parents taught them about giving, obligations to help others, not being the centre of attention and one of the big messages which is are choices impact the lives of others.... just think about that for a moment. We also get her showing what goes on in the present which he is oblivious to and then a glimpse at an upsetting future.
The thing about "By God's Grace" is that whilst it has various issues, such as some less than subtle scenes where characters try to deliver loving looks or act bubbly and enthusiastic, the spirit of the movie wins out. As such it makes you think about how are actions can affect others whilst remembering that there are those who might not be so fortunate as we are and not so much need a hand out but a hand up. A big part of the effectiveness of all this comes down to Savannah McReynolds because as Grace she has that mix of being wise and sarcastic which makes her amusing but sweet as she gives Chris a wake up call.
What this all boils down to is that "By God's Grace" is a lot better than I gave it credit for the first time I reviewed it. As such whilst it has issues it is also a movie with some great messages which make you think. And one other thing, yes "By God's Grace" is a Christian movie and yes there are some scenes which reference God but most of the movie works a simple moral based drama which prompts us to think about the consequences to others of actions and choices.