The Lamp

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Lamp Movie Poster Image
Faith-based twist on the genie-in-a-bottle story.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids might learn a little about the foster care system.

Positive Messages

Very strong faith-oriented message. Marriages are healed, grief is overcome, and relationships are created and strengthened thanks to faith and belief.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stanley and Lisa learn to find the power in themselves to overcome their misfortunes. Josh  sticks up for the other foster children and learns to keep a positive attitude while living in foster care.

Violence & Scariness

Flashbacks to the accident that took the life of a little boy, along with a similar close call of another character. Josh has anger issues and gets into a fistfight that isn't shown, but her injuries are seen, and she later deliberately throws a pitch in a rival's direction during a baseball game. A kid gets hit on the head with a home run ball and falls to the ground. Stanley also smashes the lamp with a hammer, and his arguments with Lisa early in the film are intense.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film about making your dreams come true is oriented around a family dealing with the grief of losing a child. It has some arguments and implied violence that might be difficult for younger viewers. The movie has a strong faith-oriented theme that could inspire some and turn off others.

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What's the story?

Stanley (Jason London), a successful writer, sinks into depression after the tragic death of his son, Eddy. Two years later, his career is falling apart, his bills are unpaid, and the grief is ending his marriage to his wife, Lisa (Meredith Salenger). But when an oil lamp is donated to a yard sale by their neighbor Miss Esther (L. Scott Caldwell), a "genie" named Charles (Louis Gossett Jr.) arrives and grants them wishes, under the condition that they "just believe." While the wishes can't bring back their son (that's part of the contract they sign), Charles gives them 30 days to decide what they believe is most important in life. For the next month, Stanley and Lisa -- with the help of the foster child next door -- begin to learn what they value most and how they can achieve these dreams if they, as it says on the oil lamp, "just believe."

Is it any good?

Families looking for a wholesome, faith-based story about characters coming to grips with their misfortunes, need look no further than THE LAMP. It's a simple tale of believing in yourself and your own resources and initiative to improve your standing in life. It has a clear and inspiring lesson to impart, and the story is the conduit toward the message.

 

That said, families seeking something more than a message in their movie-watching may want to look elsewhere. Even with its twist on a classic theme, The Lamp drags in parts, and the story isn't the most original or creative. Families who have experienced adoption may especially find some of the film's story to be forced and far-fetched.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about wishes. How might you make your wishes come true? What's the role of other people -- or faith in a higher power -- in making dreams come true?

  • Charles says that "all things are possible if you just believe." What is an example of this in your own life?

  • Talk about grief. How do the characters in the movie deal with grief? How realistic is their struggle?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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