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Parents' Guide to

Letters to God

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Heavy-handed tearjerker about faith, death, and friendship.

Movie PG 2010 113 minutes
Letters to God Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 3+

Great Movie

Heart touching movie, that might not end the way you want, but it’s based on a true story!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (19 ):

This is not a subtle movie. The actual words "What would Jesus do?" are said, completely un-ironically, on several occasions. There is no doubt that this is a Christian movie with an evangelical message, and that in and of itself is not a problem. The problem is that the film (not the message) seems more like an expensive, well-acted Sunday School video to be shown to youth groups rather than a movie even non-Christians (who are, one would assume, the target audience) would enjoy. Even Fireproof went beyond its faith-based message to generally champion all marriages and remind couples that they need to work on their marriages to strengthen them. Letters to God, on the other hand, provides an almost saintly, dying protagonist who is so earnest, so devout in the face of death that it's touching but not exactly relatable. For that matter, not all non-believers are newly divorced drunks hitting bottom.

In some ways, this movie is surprisingly better than expected -- the adult actors are quite good (Lively and Johnson especially). But it's the sick-child plot that's just too upsetting (and daresay manipulative) and "Hallmark special" sentimental to fully invest in throughout the film. Of course, just because you know he's going to die doesn't mean you won't get weepy when it actually happens, but you may want to punch the director in the face for turning a dying boy into an instrument for evangelizing. Like To Save a Life, it's just too much, too bogged down by the message to deliver as a film. For a much more nuanced message film, check out Alejandro Gomez Monteverde's Bella.

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