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Review of AMISH GRACE
A Moving, Profound True Story
AIR DATE: March 28, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET on the Lifetime Movie Network
STARRING: Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Matt Letscher, Tammy Blanchard, Fay Masterson, Madison Mason, Gary Graham, and Darcy Rose Byrnes
DIRECTOR: Gregg Champion
PRODUCERS: Kyle Clark and Marta M. Mobley
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Larry A. Thompson
WRITERS: Sylvie White and Teena Booth
BASED ON THE BOOK BY: Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher
DISTRIBUTOR: Lifetime Television
CONTENT: (CCC, BBB, L) Very strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview of forgiveness shown; two light obscenities and no profanities; no violence shown but discussion of a man shooting Amish school children but very tastefully handled off screen; no sexual content; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or illegal drugs; and, nothing else objectionable.
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Older children and adults
REVIEWER: Jeff Holder
REVIEW: AMISH GRACE is the true story how an Amish community forgives a man named Charlie Roberts who kills many of their young schoolgirls in cold blood. The movie is based on the true 2007 incident of a gunman who took Amish schoolgirls hostage and then killed many of them.
AMISH GRACE takes the events and creates a fictional Amish family to tell the story. The gunman kills Gideon and Ida’s 14-year-old daughter. Gideon leads a delegation of Amish men to tell Charlie’s distraught wife that they forgive her and him! Ida is unable to forgive, however, even though the rest of the community does.
One of the girls, who was in the school house but survived, comes out of a coma and tells Ida how her daughter had told Charlie the gunman that she would pray for him. Ida must confront the amazing act of grace that, if her daughter could forgive the gunman, what must she do?
AMISH GRACE is a compelling story that will bring tears and deeper understanding of Jesus Christ’s statement in the Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” The Christian message of forgiveness is clear and there are many references to Jesus and reading of Psalm 23 and quoting Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Gideon comforts his daughter who says she wants to hate the man who killed her sister. Gideon gently explains that hate is like a sharp-toothed monster that will eat your own heart if you let it. Gideon tells his wife that God gave their daughter to them and has a right to call her back to be with him in heaven.
There is much discussion of prayer and the promise of heaven. And, while the Amish are quick to forgive, they say they are able to do so because they do not need to dole out punishment; the gunman will stand before a just God and will need to account for himself. Furthermore, the Amish note that forgiveness is not the same as a pardon or justice. Thus, forgiveness frees us from being destroyed by a wicked act.
Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Ida gives a terrific performance and brings life to a character that could have been one-dimensional. The story is well written and moves along quickly. It profoundly mines the emotional depth of the tragedy, but not in a maudlin manner.
The school shooting itself is never shown and in fact the gunman is never shown in the school at all. The tragedy is handled very tastefully. However, even with that, young children may be disturbed by the conversation and the topic.
AMISH GRACE is a gripping story that is profoundly touching and contains a message of grace that is sure to inspire. It will bring many to tears and many more to a deeper understanding of God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ.
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