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IDENTITY CRISIS Actress Shares the Importance of ‘Timeless’ Faith-Based Movies

Photo from Maria Canals-Barrera’s Instagram

IDENTITY CRISIS Actress Shares the Importance of ‘Timeless’ Faith-Based Movies

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Actress Maria Canals-Barrera, who’s appeared in both secular and faith-based movies and TV, recently explained why she is drawn to projects that have redemptive themes. 

“It’s about the message,” Barrera told Movieguide®’s Cheryl Crisp. “It’s like scripture is full of painful stories, but the whole message is the redemption of man, the love of God and the battle between good and evil. It’s timeless, and it’s what everybody’s drawn to. But a great story is a great story.” 

Barrera, who has appeared in GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 and STRONG FATHERS, STRONG DAUGHTERS, says she is “encouraged” by the growing support for  faith-based projects whether the biblical themes are “overt or not.” 

 “I think it’s terrific,” she said. “And I think a lot of people are being encouraged and enlightened and informed and entertained.” 

Reaching the younger generation with the truth of God’s love is especially important to Barrera, a mother of two daughters. 

“[A]s a Christian, I believe that God’s love is for everybody,” the Florida native said.  “I get excited when somebody, who might think that there’s no hope for them, when they, especially a younger person, when they are touched by something that they’ve seen or heard that is the truth about who God is. It encourages me because then there’s hope for them.” 

That desire to encourage young adults, especially young women, led her to take on her recent role as Professor Angela Harris in IDENTITY CRISIS.  

The Provident Films website’s synopsis of the movie reads: “IDENTITY CRISIS is about a shy science wiz in college who struggles with imposter syndrome and confidence issues, she figures out how to clone herself in order to create the perfect identity and send her clone off to do all the things she is afraid to do. Only to discover that God already created her the perfect version of herself and she had all the courage, she just needed to try.” 

The actress hopes that parents watch the movie with their teenage daughters so they can talk about identity and purpose. She also wants it to remind parents of what it was like to be their children’s age, struggling with confidence and the “natural flaw” of comparing themselves to others. 

“[W]e were once there too in many ways and to not just write it off as ‘Oh, get a grip and focus on your studies and who cares what other people think.’ Well, everybody cares what other people think,” Barrera said. “And that’s a natural human flaw, I think. But to dwell on it too much and where it takes priority in our lives. That’s what we need to readjust.” 

“I love that in the movie, young girls are reminded about what’s really important, what they can work on what they can’t. What we have control over what we don’t,’ Barrera said. 

The movie’s directors, sisters Andrea Polnaszek and Alexandra Boylan, won the 2018 Movieguide® Award prize for Best Inspirational Screenplay and shared more about IDENTITY CRISIS. 

“The whole journey of the story is really Madison, our lead character, thinks that if she can make herself brave and confident and assertive, it’ll solve all of our problems,” Polnaszek told Movieguide®. “Well, she ends up sending her clone out to do those things, which causes her not to learn how to do them herself and also causes her to miss out on all the fun things the clone ends up doing. And I think that that’s just a great lesson for all of us is that if we’re always waiting or are not stepping in with a yes to these wonderful adventures God has for us, we don’t get to experience any of the amazing blessings that He has for us either.” 

A portion of  Movieguide®’s review  IDENTITY CRISIS reads: 

IDENTITY CRISIS is a fun, faith-based family comedy on video. It follows a smart but overly shy college girl. Madison is a bookworm loner who has a crush on a guy named Trevor but feels she’s too bookish to catch his attention. Using an old computer from a 1990s cloning experiment, Madison creates her own clone with the bold confidence Madison lacks. The clone soon overtakes her life, acing her science class, impressing friends, and winning over Trevor. Madison realizes she needs to live her own life with the clone’s confidence and good spirits. Can Madison be a better person on her own terms?

IDENTITY CRISIS is the latest faith-based film written and produced by the popular Boylan Sisters duo. It matches their successful string of family movies including SWITCHED. Sisters Scout Tayui-Lepore and Sophia Lepore are great fun in the lead roles, Also, the movie has an underlying message that every person is valuable and loved by God as part of His creation. With no objectionable content, IDENTITY CRISIS is a good movie for all ages in the family to watch together.

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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