By God's Grace

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
By God's Grace Movie Poster Image
Modern Scrooge regains his Christian values in awful tale.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 83 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

"Christmas isn't about getting presents. It's about giving." "Christmas is the gift of love." "Always look for the good." "Good equals good."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chris goes from being a generous and caring boy to a ruthless and selfish young man after the death of his family. When he is magically shown the harm his selfishness will cause in the future, he changes his ways.

Violence

A man is stalked by muggers and stabbed; some blood is seen, and he dies. A boy's bloodied face is shown. A boy defends another boy from a violent foster dad by wielding a baseball bat.

Sex

Chris wants to spend an evening alone with his girlfriend, and, as his mother leaves, she advises that everything he does has an impact on those around him, the subtext being, "Don't get her pregnant." Chris and Sam kiss. Chris' parents kiss. In his nightmare future, Chris buys a drink for a woman of ill repute in a bar.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In his nightmare future, Chris drinks too much and picks up a crude woman in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that By God's Grace is a 2014 Christian message movie that retells Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Expect frequent reference to God's will and God's mysterious ways.  A man is stabbed to death by muggers; we see blood. A boy's bloodied face is shown. A violent foster father is threatened with a baseball bat. In his nightmare future, Chris drinks too much and picks up a crude woman in a bar. Chris wants to spend an evening alone with his girlfriend, and, as his mother leaves, she advises that everything he does has an impact on those around him, the subtext being, "Don't get her pregnant."

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What's the story?

BY GOD'S GRACE, a Christian-themed movie targeting a faith-based audience, retells Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Nice Christian boy Chris Taylor (Cameron Deane Stewart) turns ruthless, selfish, and rude after the death of his parents and young sister on Christmas Eve. He barks at the gardener, tosses his mother's best friend out on the street, withdraws his family's long-standing support of a local orphanage, disses old friends, fires his father's best friend from the family air transport company on Christmas Eve, and spews a generally bah-humbug view of Christmas and the God who let his family die. Along comes his 10-year-old dead sister, Grace, to take him on a tour of his past and present and what will be his miserable future if he doesn't straighten up and fly right. Chris/Scrooge turns around and hastens to right his wrongs all in one day, in time for a happy Christmas ending.

Is it any good?

A movie this poorly written, acted, and directed gives the impression that religious families must be willing to put up with inferior quality. Grace (played by the adorable Savannah McReynolds) holds forth in platitude-heavy homilies. Conversations with her brother devolve into a series of nonsequiturs. One such talk starts with her pinpointing his new need for being the center of attention. He responds, "I earned it." She acts as if that made sense and says, "That's important to you, isn’t it?" and he replies, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Or, "Our actions, good and bad, are the result of how people treat us. Good equals good, and good can make up for bad." Chris protests, "Grace, I don't think I can take much more of this." Others may feel the same.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whom the filmmakers made this movie for. Do you think a viewer would have to have certain beliefs to enjoy it?

  • What are some of the challenges filmmakers might face transforming literary material, such as a Dickens' novel, into a movie?

  • Do you think it would be difficult to turn a story written in 1843 into a modern story that would appeal to audiences today? How would you do it?

  • How does this version compare to other presentations of A Christmas Carol?

Movie details

For kids who love the holidays

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