Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +1
AIR DATE: April 16, 2011 on The Hallmark Channel
TIME: Aprox. 90 minutes
STARRING: Danielle Panabaker, Bill Oberst, Jr., Sherry Stringfield, Burgess Jenkins, David Topp, Rachel St. Gelais
DIRECTOR: Michael Landon, Jr.
PRODUCERS: Mitchell Galin
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Michael Landon, Jr., Brian Bird, Maura Dunbar
WRITER: Chris Easterly
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY: Beverly Lewis
DISTRIBUTOR: The Hallmark Channel
CONTENT: (CCC, BBB, RoRoRo, V, M) Very strong Christian, moral worldview with very strong Romantic elements in battling against authority only partially addressed; no foul language; man bashes guitar; no sex, but child out of wedlock; no alcohol; no smoking; and, girl rebels and wants to sing “English” songs and parents break a community rule regarding shunning.
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Older children to adults
REVIEWER: Dr. Ted Baehr
REVIEW: THE SHUNNING is a very compelling story of a young lady who doesn’t quite fit into her Amish community. She is about to be married to an Amish bishop named John, who has two young boys. One boy mentions she sings “English” songs to them. She apologizes to the bishop, and he absolves her and tells her to get rid of the guitar.
A flashback shows she was in love with an Amish boy who disappeared after he taught her to play the guitar. After being chastised, she learns her parents have a secret too: she is not their daughter. She was given secretly to her parents by an Englishwoman named Laura Mayfield, who gave birth to her out of wedlock when she was 16.
Laura has now returned to find her daughter, Katie, because Laura is dying. Katie decides she’s not Amish. Then, the community shuns her because she doesn’t want to marry the bishop. It looks like a disastrous ending can only be resolved by love and compassion.
THE SHUNNING has a very good script. The dialogue, direction, acting, and music are excellent. Ultimately, the elderly midwife gives Katie very sound, Christian advice, but there are strong Romantic elements to the story that are never completely resolved. Also, there seems to be a violation of the shunning principle, which is to help people get their lives back in order, like an Al-Anon intervention for alcoholics. THE SHUNNING is recommended viewing, but caution is advised because of the Romantic elements.
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Bill Abbot, CEO
Head of Original Programming and Development
The Hallmark Channel
Crown Media United States, LLC
12700 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
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