"Descent into Self-Realization and Repentance"
What You Need To Know:
6 BELOW is beautifully photographed, acted and directed. Although flashbacks usually don’t work, they work here, to illuminate Eric’s character and make him more sympathetic. The movie’s best part, though, is his mother, who demonstrates intense motherly love, prays fervently and has some of the best lines. Regrettably, 6 BELOW has some long painful sequences with no relief. That said, the Christian message in 6 BELOW is clear, that you must repent and be saved physically and spiritually.
(CC, BBB, L, VV, N, DD, MM) Strong Christian worldview about a self-centered, drug using egotist bruised and hurt by a dysfunctional family who comes to the end of his rope, repents and is saved both literally and physically with a very godly mother who prays the Bible for salvation and fights for her child, with a great portrait of a mother, the main character begins the story by quoting Psalms, many moral points are made against drugs, selfishness, egotism, and some of the other sins facing the spoiled generation; seven obscenities and one light profanity; intense violence, mostly naturalistic, some self-inflicted, including frostbite, gangrene, putrefaction, falling through ice into a freezing lake, weathering below zero temperatures, fighting for survival, hiding from wolves, trashing his room, man beats up on a hockey player, father inflicts harsh discipline on his son, man kicks in a door; no sex; upper male nudity, rear male nudity, man has to take off his clothes as to not get hyperthermia; no alcohol use; intense crystal meth use such as snorting meth in the morning and consistently on a snowy mountain, though off screen, and use of meth causes man to hit a car; and, man blames everyone else, man hates his father for demanding too much from him and for abandoning him, man hates his mother for smothering him, and selfishness but rebuked.
6 BELOW tells the story of a handsome, athletic egotist who blames everybody for his problems, abuses crystal meth to forget his pain and is eventually saved by his mother’s intense love and prayers.
Eric LeMarque describes all the hits and beatings you take as a hockey player, which hockey players expect, but the worst beating he took he never even saw coming. In the opening of the movie, Eric is talking to his mother on the phone about showing up for his court date where, intoxicated by crystal meth, he hit another car. Now, he’s spending six days at a ski lodge waiting for the court trial.
Eric is focused on the clock as he tries to abstain from his drug addiction. However, at 8 a.m., he rushes out to find his crystal meth and feed his addiction. In his haste, he gets locked out of his cabin and kicks down the door, injuring his shin. Even so, he takes off with his snowboard for the slopes, hitching a ride with Sarah who’s in charge of mountain rescues.
When he gets to the top of the mountain, there’s a storm coming, but he keeps snowboarding until his final trip to the top. The peak is suffering from whiteout. As he heads down the mountain one last time, he decides to go down the Unsanctioned trail, which is rated Double Black Diamond and soon gets lost on the back side of the mountain. Now, he must survive wolves, freezing temperatures, lack of food and water, falling through the ice, frostbite, and an array of physical horrors, hoping against hope that someone will find him. In the process, he realizes he’s been blaming everyone but not taking responsibility, and he repents. He also gives up his crystal meth.
All of these changes are probably an answer to the prayers of his mother, who loves him so much that she will not give up on him. Flashbacks show the intense discipline of his father, his dysfunctional family and all the forces of adversity trying to drag him down. One of the movie’s key lines is his hockey coach, “Eric, it’s not about I; it’s about we, the crest on the back of your jersey.” Of course, there’s a greater we that the movie refers to, the relationship with Jesus Christ the One Triune God.
6 BELOW is a very beautifully photographed, acted and directed movie. Having been born into a skiing family (my father skied in the 1920s at Dartmouth, and I skied for Dartmouth in the 1960s), the mountain scenes were absolutely exquisite. The mountain scenes beckoned. Although flashbacks usually don’t work, they worked here, to illuminate and illustrate who Eric was and to help us empathize with him and care about him.
The movie’s best part, though, is his mother, who not only demonstrated intense motherly love, fervent prayers but also had some of the best lines, making clear how important a child is to a mother. Her lines brought humor and a tear. In drama, mothers are often reviled, for obvious reasons, because doing so provides a strong, dramatic element. So, Eric’s mother makes one of the few Godly, powerful mothers and one of the best mothers in movie history.
Regrettably, 6 BELOW has long painful sequences. Quite often in 6 BELOW, the moments of relief are too far apart, leaving the audience pained by the story itself. The jeopardy is good and consistent. The drug use is appropriate because it’s condemned in word and deed, and thankfully not outright shown. Between this, and a scatter of mostly light obscenities, a strong caution is advised however.
That said, the movie’s Christian message is clear, that you must repent and be saved physically and spiritually.