Acquitted by Faith
Faith heals girl in coma; violence, emotional intensity.
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Acquitted by Faith
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Acquitted by Faith is a faith-based movie. Violence comes in the form of a car accident caused by a dropped cell phone. A slick attorney hits a little girl in the road, sending her into a coma. The parents of a girl on life support decide to pull the plug before a miracle occurs. The morals include: don't text while driving (even though the driver wasn't texting), don't embezzle company funds, don't fire hardworking people from their jobs, and don't underestimate the power of prayer. Heartfelt scenes with devastated parents and injured kids will be upsetting to sensitive kids.
So Many Inconsistencies
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What's the Story?
In ACQUITTED BY FAITH, Benjamin (Casper Van Dien) is an associate at a high-powered law firm, forced by his shady immediate boss to work long nights and neglect his wife Beth (Catherine Oxenberg) and their kids. One night, driving home in a fog of work-versus-family pressure, he hits a 10-year-old neighbor named Sharon (Callie Brook McClincy) and sends her into a coma. Adding insult to injury, the girl is a cancer survivor and her father, Doug (Tom Schanley), has just been fired by a large company Benjamin's law firm represents. A sleazy ambulance chaser named Larsen (Michael Joiner), disguised as a doctor, finagles his way into the hospital and tries to persuade the devastated parents to sign with him. The local district attorney has already decided he's nailing Benjamin to the wall for texting while driving before an investigation has even begun. Benjamin is also being set up to take the fall for another attorney's embezzlement of millions. Can faith save the day?
Is It Any Good?
Acquitted by Faith seems to have its heart in the right place, but it lacks, among other important elements of good drama, an all-important emotional arc. Benjamin isn't a bad man at the start, so there's no indication that either newfound faith or anything else makes him a better man by movie's end. At first, he doesn't spend time with his family because his selfish boss works him too hard -- he'll lose his job if he takes time off. By the movie's end, he has a nicer boss, allowing him to spend more time with the wife and kids. Apart from suddenly carrying around a bible, nothing else in Benjamin's behavior indicates a new religious faith or a change in his attitudes about work, family, or religion. At times, the director seems to be going for suspense that has nothing to do with the rest of the plot. At one, point a man walks down the stairs in his house at night as suspenseful music plays, signaling impending doom, but no doom occurs and he goes back upstairs to bed. Dialogue is sometimes ridiculous in the context of the challenges at hand. In a completely absurd moment, after a terrible car accident, a wife assures her husband that because the girl he hit is on life support (and isn't dead), "It's gonna be fine!" "Fine" doesn't seem the appropriate word to describe a girl in a coma.
More important, while faith may be a great positive in many lives, the movie implies that a vehicular manslaughter charge, severe health issues, and job loss can all magically disappear if only people start to pray. Odder still, the actor's accents are all over the place. The ambulance- chasing lawyer claims to have grown up with Benjamin, but he and his wife have southern accents and Benjamin doesn't, nor does anyone else in town. The one element of excellence here is Jaci Velasquez, outstanding in her small role as the little girl's mother. Her performance rises above every other actor here, above the script, and above the direction.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about evidence that Benjamin is in any way changed from who he is at the start of the movie to the man he is at the end. Is his transformation believable? Why or why not?
Benjamin carries a bible with him in later scenes. What do you think is the significance of his action? Do you think the writers and director could have better demonstrated Benjamin's transformation?
Do you think that prayer can save people from death? Why or why not?
- In theaters: February 20, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: December 14, 2020
- Cast: Casper Van Dien, Catherine Oxenberg, Tom Schanley, Jaci Velasquez, Callie Brook McClincy
- Director: Daniel Lusko
- Studio: Green Apple Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: November 14, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Intense film about a boy's fatal illness has heavy themes.
There Will Be Blood
Slow-moving, somber drama is too mature for kids.
Touching faith-based drama has violence, mature themes.
Happily deranged comedy has typical Carrey humor.
For kids who love faith-based tales
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