Parents' Guide to

I Can Only Imagine

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Poignant faith-based drama about hit song's inspiration.

Movie PG 2018 110 minutes
I Can Only Imagine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 40 parent reviews

age 10+

Inspiring and well done

Great movie. Our whole family enjoyed it... teens, parents and grandparents. I’ve loved this song for years and now love it even more. The movie has a wonderful message of forgiveness, love and hope, and is very well done. Definitely worth seeing.
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Expected more

Pros: mended relationship through forgiveness Cons: expected to know more on how Bart came to be a Christian. It was touching, as many movies like this are. The movie spent much time with very little Christ leading. Not since "Time Changer" have I seen repentence and commitment on focusing what happens when Christ in not lifted up. Not saying the song is wrong or the purpose, I would love to see more Christ - centeredness in our media today.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (40):
Kids say (23):

Christian music fans will be touched by this poignant origin story of a beloved song, which is portrayed with warmth and openness. "I Can Only Imagine" is the No. 1 Christian single of all time, so there's likely a large audience ready to dive into Bart's story. Even though it's clear from the beginning that there will be a happy, hopeful ending, directors Jon and Andrew Erwin make sure viewers know that Bart's inspiration for the ballad -- his relationship with his father -- was complicated and unhealthy. Arthur can be cruel, and the movie doesn't shy away from how difficult it was for Bart to forgive his dad and move forward with the dream to become a singer.

Finley does a fine job channeling Bart's nuanced personality, both his enthusiasm and charisma, as well as his insecurity and anger. Finley is also good at conveying Bart's humor. As Bart's girlfriend (and wife to be) Shannon, actress Madeline Carroll is ably patient, waiting for Bart to confide in her about what's going on at home. Aficionados of contemporary Christian music will also enjoy the shout-outs to and portrayals of various famous singers, like Grant and Michael W. Smith, as well as seeing country artist Trace Adkins play MercyMe's veteran Nashville manager. The movie will likely resonate with anyone interested in music-based biopics or father-son dramas, but it will probably appeal most to evangelical churchgoers and those familiar with the touching song.

Movie Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate