ECHOES OF INNOCENCE is a surprisingly well-made movie in spite of its miniscule budget. Almost a supernatural thriller, it may be too intense for a very few, but for most teenagers and young adults, the intensity of the suspense is exactly what they look for in a contemporary film.
The filmmakers have turned a contemporary, rebellious teenager movie inside out. Sarah Jenkins is a beautiful, troubled loner whom her classmates nickname “Virg” because once upon a time, when she was much younger, she gave a talk on her heroine, Joan of Arc. After the talk, her classmates beat her up and ridiculed her for being a virgin. The audience learns through flashbacks that one young boy, Christopher, befriended her. At the tender age of 13, they promised their love for each other and promised that they would remain chaste and pure until they were married on her 18th birthday.
Christopher had to move out of town, and Sarah has kept to her promise while immersing herself in her Christian faith, including frequent trips to a broken-down old church where she sings Psalms, prays, does the rosary, hears God’s voice, and falls into trances. Her mother, who had Sarah out of wedlock, seems to dislike Sarah and has been resisting her ever since Sarah’s childhood romance with Christopher. Sarah now lives with her grandmother, who pays no attention to her whatsoever.
In senior year in high school, two young men come into her life. The first one, a senior named Alec, is determined to bed her, just as he had done with many of her classmates. Alec is the epitome of evil and even plans to blow up the school. The other young man in her life is Dave, a journalist for the school newspaper. Sarah unexpectedly gets the lead role in the spring play, so Dave decides to find out who Sarah really is and to give the play some publicity. Through an interview, Dave gets to know Sarah, and they start to fall for one another. The question is, will Sarah break her promise to Christopher?
ECOES OF INNOCENCE was done on a ridiculously low budget, so there are some silly BLAIR WITCH moments. That said, most of the writing, cinematography and direction is far superior to most movies. Writer and director Nathan Todd Sims has learned his craft and knows how to keep his audience on the edge of their seats. Even so, many people in the screening audience loved this movie, some were very enthusiastic about the abstinence message, a few were upset that the almost Gothic loner was the heroine (because they didn’t like having the Christian always marginalized as a kook), and some did not like the symbol laden theology.
However, all of these concerns are the same things that will may help some young people relate to the movie. Most adolescents see themselves as being alienated. So, instead of the typical protagonist fighting against Christianity, ECHOES OF INNOCENCE creates an alienated heroine who has a living faith and living values.
Therefore, we commend ECHOES OF INNOCENCE. It is clear that the filmmaker has great talent and should become a major force in the movie world. Paretns should urge their teenagers to see this movie.
(CCC, BB, L, VV, S, N, AA, D, M) Very strong Christian worldview, with some Catholic overtones, where a girl hears voices and has visions like her hero, Joan of Arc, and girl uses the rosary, crosses, candles, and other artifacts when she prays, which some may see as superstition, as well as strong moral content includes strong abstinence until marriage message that is illustrated through the drama; seven obscenities, one profanity and some possible mocking of God by the villain; very intense suspense, daughter slaps mother, villain tries to rape heroine, villain tries to bomb school, villain shoots hero (complete with blood), bull kills man, girls beat up young girl; several innocent kisses, married couple lies in bed together, villain preys on girls to get them to sleep with him and then dump them, and attempted rape; upper male nudity and shadow nudity of couple lying in bed together; no depicted smoking or drinking, but mother appears to be an alcoholic and abuses medical drugs; and, daughter fights with mother, grandmother ignores granddaughter, children are mean, villain preys on girls to get them to sleep with him and then dump them.
In ECHOES OF INNOCENCE, Sarah, a lonely high school senior ostracized for her Christian chastity and beliefs, unexpectedly gets the lead role in the spring play. Dave, a journalist for the school paper, decides to find out who this mysterious young lady is. They begin to have feelings for one another, even though years ago Sarah promised to marry her friend Christopher, who left town. Dave discovers that Sarah has been hearing voices like her hero, Joan of Arc. The closer he gets to the truth of the voices, the closer Dave gets to an imminent danger involving the whole school and an evil boy named Alec.
Almost a supernatural thriller, ECOES OF INNOCENCE was done on a ridiculously low budget, so there are some silly moments, but most of the production and the writing is superior. Writer and director Nathan Todd Sims has learned his craft well. Despite some possible worldview concerns, Mr. Sims creates an alienated heroine who has a living faith and living values. He gives the movie a powerful abstinence message within an intense, suspenseful story that's attractive to teenage audiences, the ones who need the message most.