"When God Says No"
JONI is an inspiring drama telling the real-life story of Joni Eareckson Tada, a girl who becomes a quadriplegic in a diving accident at seventeen but lives to discover new depths of relationship with God and a calling to art and ministry. Released in 1979 and now remastered and re-released on DVD, JONI has a strong Christian, biblical worldview, and is one of the best produced Christian movies, with great acting and a good storyline.
Joni was the popular girl in high school, with a good-looking boyfriend and a great family. One day, she is out swimming, dives in the water and hits her head. Her sister finds her, and her boyfriend helps her to get her to the hospital. The doctors do immediate surgery on Joni. Not long after, she finds out she will not be able to move her legs, but they don’t know about her hands. Joni’s family prepares her hospital room for her, to help her feel comfortable. Months pass, and the doctors finally tell Joni she also won’t be able to use her hands. Distraught and feeling like God has let her down, Joni goes into a state of severe depression.
Soon after, Joni goes to a rehabilitation center and makes friends with other paralyzed and quadriplegic people. This rehabilitation center helps Joni learn how to do art, drawing and painting with her mouth.
Joni must decide rather to have a positive attitude, move forward and trust in God, or to follow a downward spiral of depression.
Originally released in 1979, JONI is a well-made, faith-filled movie. It’s a great example of a faith-based movie. In fact, Christian filmmakers looking to make a faith-based movie might want to see how well JONI is produced. The movie is extremely well acted, by Joni Eareckson Tada herself, and the other cast members. It shows a real, uplifting portrait of how to deal with suffering and pain and make the most of your life, no matter what the outcome.
JONI is a very inspirational, well-made movie. Anyone with a friend or family member dealing with a disability or disease should see JONI. That said, because of the intensity of Joni’s treatment (which includes surgeries, having her hair cut off against her will), as well as some scenes of unmarried romantic entanglements, and Joni’s struggle with bitterness toward God, JONI isn’t intended for younger children and warrants caution for older pre-teenagers.
(CCC, BBB, L, V, N, A, D, M) Very strong Christian, biblical, redemptive worldview includes references to God, Jesus, angels, and the Gospel message, positive depictions of prayer, church, reading the Bible, quotations from Scripture, and faith, with a strong depiction of moral values including compassion, faith, forgiveness, love, and peace; one light obscenity and no profanities; light violence includes a diving accident, girl shown in surgery several times, girl asks friend to help her commit suicide; no salacious sexual content, but several kisses shared between unmarried couples; light nudity with beach and pool scenes including women in bikinis and shirtless men, a man works shirtless in a barn; light drinking with men drinking beer on the beach; some smoking, one drug reference; bitterness, racism and revenge.
JONI is an inspiring drama telling the real-life story of Joni Eareckson Tada. While diving into the Chesapeake Bay, Joni fractures her neck, paralyzing her from the neck down. Years of surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation follow. Though she prays earnestly, God doesn’t choose to heal her. Bitterness threatens to overtake Joni, but God begins to work in her life through friends, family and His Word. God leads Joni to realize that, although she might never know why God allowed her to become paralyzed, she can still find purpose in life by knowing Jesus Christ and ministering to others.
While the cinematography in JONI at times leaves something to be desired, the acting is excellent and emotionally engages the viewer. JONI shows a real, uplifting portrait of how to deal with suffering and pain and make the most of your life, no matter what the outcome. Joni’s treatment is intense. Also, the movie includes some scenes of unmarried romantic entanglements, plus Joni’s struggle with bitterness against God. So, JONI is not intended for younger children and warrants caution for older pre-teenagers.