77 Chances

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
77 Chances Movie Poster Image
Sweet faith-based romance deals with grief and sadness.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages about redemption, forgiveness, and moving forward without anger, bitterness, or resentment. Encourages kindness, whether in word or deed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mac is a smart, funny, kind woman who's more than just a pretty face. She's wise and tells Jason her story and the truth about how she has overcome sadness and grief. Jason changes throughout the movie and realizes that he needs to shed his bitterness and work toward being a kinder, more caring man. Ava is a loving and supportive sister.

Violence

An ill mother is shown falling. When an accident is about to happen (a moment that happens repeatedly), audiences see the bright lights of an oncoming car and hear the sound of the impact.

Sex

Flirting and obvious interest/chemistry on a date, but no touching beyond brief hand holding.

Language

"Idiot."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 77 Chances is a faith-based romantic dramedy about a man stuck reliving the same day, Groundhog Day-style. There's very little objectionable content in the story (no swearing and nothing racier than flirting and holding hands), but the themes of grief and sadness -- as well as the tragedy that closes out each day (an accident the audience sees about to happen again and again) -- are best for tweens and up. While firmly espousing a Christian worldview, the story isn't overly heavy handed.

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What's the story?

77 CHANCES is a story of redemption and renewal. Jason (Andrew Cheney) abandoned his dream of becoming a professional photographer so he could live closer to home and help his sister with their dying mother. Since her death, Jason has been stuck in his small hometown, working for his sister's ski and skate shop. One day, he meets another worker, the lovely McKenna (Rachel Hendrix), and they end up making a real connection and going on their first date. With the exception of him not wanting to go to church with her, the night is filled with a palpable chemistry -- until it ends in tragedy. But when he wakes up the next morning, Jason ends up reliving the same day ... 77 times, making slightly different choices without changing the devastating outcome.

Is it any good?

Unlike many other faith-based films, this is a well-performed, genuinely entertaining romantic dramedy that's about more than the religious message at its core. While many faith-based movies go all-in with heavy themes and fire-and-brimstone messages, 77 Chances lets its Groundhog Day-conceit work in funny, poignant, human ways that everyone will relate to. Jason's decisions show how kindness and generosity --instead of gruffness and standoffishness -- can make a big difference in how we all connect as people, whether we're interacting at a coffee shop with strangers, in private with siblings, or, in this case, getting to know someone on a date.

A lot of the movie's appeal is in how relaxed the two leads are with each other. There's an easy attraction between Jason and Mac, even on the days when he tries too hard to catch her attention. They bond over shared grief and the promise of a new tomorrow, which of course they don't really get until Jason makes some life-changing decisions. Yes, this is a Christian movie, but even non church-goers might enjoy the movie and the performances in one of the few faith-based stories that doesn't hit audiences over the head with sermonizing platitudes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how 77 Chances explores the ideas of faith, what-ifs, and the way that decisions can impact your life. Have you ever second-guessed a decision you made?

  • Do you think someone who doesn't strongly identify as being Christian could appreciate and enjoy this movie? Why or why not? Who's the intended audience for this movie?

  • For those familiar with the genre, how does this movie compare to other faith-based films you've seen? Do you prefer faith-based films with established actors who may or may not be Christians, or those done by and for church-goers?

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