The Reason

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Reason Movie Poster Image
Book-based faith-based drama has mature themes.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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.

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

God is always around, even when bad things happen. God works in mysterious ways. The faithful aren't necessarily rewarded with the things they pray for. God doesn't have to prove anything to us. "Whether patients live to 6 or 100, it's nothing compared to eternity."

Positive Role Models

A woman who prays for her son's health is furious when her faith doesn't "work." A blind pastor preaches gratitude for all he has, rather than blaming God for all he lacks. Diverse characters.


A belligerent guy causes trouble in a bar, knocking down a young boy. Someone dies in a hospital. A blind man slips in some spilled coffee, hits his head, and wakes up able to see. Mention of child abuse.


A man learns that a drunken night created a child he didn't know about.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer. A hospital patient receives lots of medications and treatments.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Reason is a book-based faith-based story that uses a 6-year-old with leukemia to explore what it means for the faithful when bad things happen to good people. Death, blindness, miraculous healings, and serious illness make this an unlikely choice for kids. Talk of God and faith permeates the action and dialogue. A skeptic gives all the usual rationalist anti-God arguments, but the rest are firm believers, some of whom expect miracles in return. One character seems to be an angel who performs miracles. Someone dies in a hospital. A blind man slips in some spilled coffee, hits his head, and wakes up able to see. Mention of child abuse. A man learns that a drunken night created a child he didn't know about. Adults drink beer.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old July 11, 2021

Great movie, very heartfelt

I love this movie. It was very well-made and religious. I love Christian movies, they’re my favorite kind of movies. There aren’t many things I think are inappr... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE REASON, Brooke (Sara Antonio) is an unmarried mom down on her luck and staying with the generous blind Pastor Jim (Louis Gossett Jr.) and his gracious wife Shirley (Beverly Todd). When her 6-year-old son Alex (Charlie Ray Reid) is diagnosed with leukemia, Brooke informs Ian (Kristopher Wente) for the first time that a drunken night they spent together resulted in Alex. Although angry at first, Ian steps up as a dad and as a bone marrow donor. Alex's doctor Macey (Tatyana Ali) becomes emotionally involved in her efforts to save the boy. His nurse Kaitlyn (Kelly Carlson) fights her own demons because of unspecified childhood abuse. All struggle to maintain their faith even while the pastor urges them to be grateful. Kenneth (Alan Powell) comes out of nowhere to miraculously resurrect a church's cross damaged by lightning. He seems to restore the pastor's sight and heal Macey's former patient, all the while preaching that they'll all be fine if they "only believe." Not everything turns out fine, but that's okay, too, according to Kenneth.

Is it any good?

The Reason is a faith-based story that exploits tragedy to instruct us in the need to believe in God, even in tough times, offering the characters odd bits of magic to hold them until faith arrives. For believers, the message will resonate, as performances are good and the movie is a competently made message-delivery vehicle. Those who don't look to movies for instructions on how to live, or subscribe to the beliefs therein, will find this cloying and downright unrealistic. For example, doctors don't spend all their time waiting hand and foot on one single patient, as portrayed here.

Unlike other more successful movies about the possibility of spiritual underpinnings, such as It's a Wonderful Life or The Bishop's Wife, this lacks much in the way of creativity and the spark of whimsy that makes medicine go down easier. When a long-lost necklace shows up right after a family member's death, it's viewed as a God-proving miracle and posed as some kind of compensation for terrible loss. It suggests that the dead person is "doing well" somewhere other than among the living. To compare the value of a necklace with the value of a loved one will surely seem absurdly insensitive to anyone who has experienced grief.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the connections between religious faith and whether life goes smoothly or badly for people. Do you think believers live better lives? Why or why not?

  • What does the movie say to those who have suffered terrible losses with regard to believing or not believing in God?

  • Why do you think believers might lose faith in the face of a terrible event in life?

  • Would non-believers enjoy this movie? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love faith-based tales

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate