"The Power of God’s Love"
What You Need To Know:
LOVING THE BAD MAN squarely faces the issue of a rape. But, it powerfully shows how God can heal lives and bring peace. The movie is not for young children. Its subject matter is more fitting for teenagers and adults. The movie’s greatest strength is that it will bring viewers to tears. It dramatically shows how God can use people doing the right thing to touch the hearts of deeply hurting people. LOVING THE BAD MAN is a very inspiring movie, with superb dialogue and well-developed characters.
(CCC, BBB, V, S, AA, M) A profoundly Christian worldview with a very strong message of forgiveness and redemption, with moral behavior affirmed, immoral behavior rebuked, and Non-Christian worldviews rebuked; five light obscenities; violence includes violent rape in the dark (nothing shown), beatings in a car shop, beatings in prison sometimes with a little blood, stabbings, strangling; rape in the dark and discussion of rape, childbirth scene; upper male nudity; strong alcohol use and drunkenness; discussion of drug shipments; and, gang warfare in prison, immoral women at bar, several instances of dishonesty, and a father’s behavior toward his daughter is at times far from exemplary.
LOVING THE BAD MAN is about a Christian girl who actively seeks to forgive and minister to a man who raped her. It includes foul language and violence relating to its traumatic story line but can bring viewers to tears as God uses this horrible event to touch many lives in a positive way.
The movie opens with two parallel stories. Julie (Christine Kelly) is a devout Christian whose beliefs are evident at work and at home. Mike (Arturo Fernandez) is an angry young auto mechanic with a chip on his shoulder. The two paths converge when Julie has a flat tire just outside a bar where Mike is drinking himself into oblivion over an incident where he punched out his employer for accusing him of being a thief. The bartender convinces Mike to help Julie and he does. When Julie tries to give him money, he feels insulted and in a rage winds up chasing her down and raping her (the actual rape is not actually shown).
Julie’s family is understandably furious. Mike is caught, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years with no parole possible for 10. Julie discovers she’s pregnant. This causes tremendous family strife, including discussions of abortion, which Julie rejects.
After a son is born, Julie feels led by God to take the baby and visit Mike in prison. Mike is stunned and angry at first. His attitude is that she’s the one who caused him to be in prison. After several visits, conducted without her family’s knowledge, Mike begins to soften. When Julie’s family learns she’s visiting Mike, it causes even greater strife in her family.
The dialogue in LOVING THE BAD MAN is superb. There’s constant conflict, and yet the dialogue is extremely realistic. The characters are very well developed. Christine Kelly does a superb job as Julie, as does Arturo Fernandez playing Mike. The direction is good but slightly uneven.
LOVING THE BAD MAN goes to the extreme in dealing with God’s command to forgive. It’s not a movie for the faint of heart. Prison life is presented as extremely undesirable. Ironically, the few obscenities in the movie were not used by the inmates but by Julie’s father, who had a very low opinion of having the son of a rapist living in his house.
The movie doesn’t present Julie or her family as flawless human beings. It squarely faces very human reactions to a rape, but shows how increased reliance on God can heal lives and bring peace the traumatized. The filmmakers are to be commended for their efforts, but the movie is not one to show to young children. Its subject matter is more fitting for those in high school and beyond.
Finally, the production quality in LOVING THE BAD MAN is good. The acting seems to improve as the story develops. The movie’s greatest strength is that it will bring viewers to tears as it shows how God can use people doing the right thing at the right time to touch the hearts of deeply hurting people. LOVING THE BAD MAN is a very inspiring movie. The Christian witness is very powerful and should reach many people.