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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.