- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
The dark side of foster care is the subject of
With the film's central Christian portrayed as a freakish monster, it should be no surprise that Christian press critics are displeased with the film.
Critics at Preview and Movieguide critic criticize the film for "references to suicide, murder, violence, adultery, under-age fornication, alcoholism." They also criticize the film's "anti-Christian bigotry." Megan Basham (Christian Spotlight) says, "
Phil Boatwright is also bothered by "the most outlandish view of Christianity I can remember on film." But he admits, "The Christian church is an easy target for lampooning, because it is rife with folks who don't think it is necessary to practice what they preach."
Michael Elliott gives it some credit: "Kosminsky gives these women a forum to demonstrate their acting 'chops' and they take full advantage. All of the major characters are completely realized, complex individuals. For Alison Lohman, this is a star making performance."
But Holly McClure says, "I was saddened by the dysfunctional characters and twisted parenting that sadly rings a little too real in today's Godless culture. There's no way to walk away from this movie without a heavy heart."
Michael Medved is also disappointed: "With its abundance of superb female performances, the film's never less than absorbing, but it sometimes shirks the most absorbing questions it begins to pose."
Gerard J. Hekker (Catholic News) and Steven Isaac (Focus on the Family) highlight the film's sad portrait of a flawed childcare system. Isaac says, "[It's] enough to make you want to rush right out and draw up a new will to doubly protect your children from such a fate. It also makes you think long and hard about how your own decisions will affect loved ones."
Dick Staub's CultureWatch offers questions for after-viewing discussion.
Mainstream critics predict Oscar-attention for some of the actresses, but criticize the film's soap-operatic tendencies.
Robert Kohler (Variety) writes, "Never rising above routine episodic storytelling,