A Murder of Innocence

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
A Murder of Innocence Movie Poster Image
Earnest, faith-driven story falls short; some violence.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Primary message is that trust in God can ease fear and sadness. "God is our place of safety." "God has the power to deliver us from all fear." Other religious/spiritual ideas: "A real marriage takes a lot of effort ... and is worth fighting for." "God can take a situation even like this and make good from it."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pastor Albert is kind, compassionate, trustworthy, loving, has deep, abiding faith in God and people. He's able to communicate his beliefs with others, deal with their needs. At core, wife Aimee is compassionate, trustworthy, loving, competent, but she's momentarily compromised by growing fear, lack of trust in her religion. Aimee's emotional arc, plus other townsfolk, are at heart of film. With exception of two glimpses of an African American sheriff, film set in Pacific Northwest has no ethnic diversity. Females are mostly portrayed as subordinate to the men in their lives.

Violence

Murder by gunfire of a middle-aged couple is shown in bits and pieces -- flashbacks, nightmares. Their bloody injuries are briefly on-screen, as are their desperate efforts to get away. A woman has a violent mental breakdown. Law enforcement struggles with a suspect.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Murder of Innocence is a faith-based drama adapted from the 1984 book Broken Yet Triumphant by Aimee Anderson. Based on a true story and detailing a crime that took place in the Pacific Northwest in 1971, the film has been updated and takes place in present day. A violent crime is briefly shown in several scenes from a variety of angles, including in flashbacks and nightmares. While the shots are brief and not graphically brutal, it may be disturbing to some. Other intense scenes depict a woman's mental breakdown and law enforcement altercations with suspects. The story is told from the point of view of Ms. Anderson, at the time a young pastor's wife, who loses both her faith and her trust in others after the crime. Messages about the unsettling results of fearfulness and restoration of faith in God and Jesus Christ are significant parts of the narrative. 

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Adult Written bydje5148 June 17, 2020

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What's the story?

In A MURDER OF INNOCENCE, just after the arrival of a new pastor and his family in Sequim, Washington, a well-loved couple is murdered in their home. Pastor Albert (Frank Chiesurin) and Aimee (Rachel MacMillan) Anderson are instrumental in the discovery of the crime, and deeply saddened by it. When Sheriff Tomlin (Xander Steel) investigates, none of the small city's citizens appear to be strong suspects. He's frustrated as no leads are forthcoming. Fear rises among the folks of Sequim, most disturbingly within the Anderson home where Aimee has nightmares and is increasingly distrustful. Her day-to-day life, spent raising her six children and acting as helpmate to her pastor-husband, is affected; she's vulnerable and skittish. Despite the efforts of the pastor and the sheriff, townsfolk are on edge and suspicious of one another. Fear has taken firm hold in Sequim. Albert sees it as a crisis of faith. It's up to him, challenged by his family members as well as his parishioners, to help them find their way back.

Is it any good?

For fans of movies filled with heartfelt messages and affirmation of devout Christian beliefs who don't mind a lack of quality and professionalism, this film may well be a satisfying experience. A Murder of Innocence attempts to be a rare combination of spiritual reminder of God's presence and perfection and a suspenseful mystery. Filmed in the Pacific Northwest with local actors and crew, the performances and production are unpolished at best. Part of the problem: The movie is based on an incident that happened in 1971, from a book about that incident that was written in 1984, and transported to current day. Times have changed even in the small city of Sequim, Washington. Making the movie a period piece might have been better. As it stands, the film includes mostly one-dimensional characters, redundant messages about calling upon God to counter fear, and a plot that hopes to heighten drama by bolstering possible suspects, but falls flat instead.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of faith-based movies like A Murder of Innocence. How do such stories offer comfort and affirmation of beliefs? Are they intended for those who already have such beliefs or for other folks? Explain your answer.

  • The actual incident upon which this story is based took place almost 50 years ago. How have women's roles changed since that time? Do you think the film, which takes place in modern day, accurately depicts the role of women now? 

  • The town of Sequim, Washington, might be considered a "character" in this movie. In what ways does the small-town Pacific Northwest setting impact the story? How does it help define the characters? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love faith-based tales

Themes & Topics

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