I Can Only Imagine is a movie directed by the Erwin Brothers. Released on 16 March 2018 in the USA it has grossed over $22 million worldwide in its first week, which for a low budget independent film is nothing short of miraculous. I saw the film last Sunday night with my wife and I can highly recommend it. It would appear I am not alone as I Can Only Imagine achieved an A+ rating with cinema goers, one of less than 80 films to achieve such a high rating. Over the last 36 years on average only 2 movies a year crack the A+ plus rating. This is a fantastic achievement for any film let alone a small independent film with a minuscule budget.
I Can Only Imagine is the song that brings ultimate hope to many . . . often in the middle of life’s most challenging moments. Amazingly, the song was written in a few minutes by MercyMe lead singer, Bart Millard. But in reality, those lyrics took a lifetime to craft. The film is based on the story behind the band MercyMe’s triple platinum song “I Can Only Imagine” which became the most-played contemporary faith-based song of all time.
Yet the movie is much more than just a song.
Although he found faith at a young age, life wasn’t easy for Bart. He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father. But a career-ending injury—combined with the vision of a teacher who saw unlimited potential—set Bart on a musical pathway.
Chasing a dream while running from broken relationships with his father and Shannon, his childhood sweetheart, Bart hit the road in an old, decrepit tour bus with his new band MercyMe—named for his grandmother’s favourite expression. With the guidance of a grizzled music-industry insider, the band begins a journey none of them could ever have imagined.
The film centres around MercyMe lead singer, Bart Millard, and his relationship with his father Arthur Wesley Millard Jr. In real life Arthur died when Bart was 18 years old and his death ultimately help inspire the writing of the hit song. In the movie the time sequence of the life events is changed but the core facets of this real-life story remain the same. According to director Andrew Erwin, it tells a “complex father-son story,” including emotional and physical abuse from Bart’s father.
It is my belief the film, while it is has a relatively small promotional budget, will do very well in the cinemas because it is based on one of the most universal issues for mankind. The topic of the ‘Father Wound’ runs deep in all of humanity. There is such a thing as the ‘Mother Wound’ but in my experience in counselling and talking to thousands of men and women the world over it does not run as deep. Mothers are forgiven in most cases, but fathers are not.
Maybe it’s because when we are young we see our father as some God-like figure who can do no wrong. When the man whom we look up to hurts us, or worse still hurts us and walks away, the pain of that can last a lifetime, and it is often transferred down through the generations. That is why it is so important for men to deal with their own father wound before it is transferred to the next generation. Bart dealt with his anger and his bitterness. Thankfully Bart’s father came to his senses before it was too late.
According to the National Centre for Fathering in the USA, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.
The cost of the father wound in our society is very high, both in a personal and emotional sense, and in a fiscal deficit for the nation and the nation’s families. That’s why we at Dads4Kids are excited to promote a movie that deals with the importance of fathers and provides hope and inspiration for both our families and our children
This week is also Easter and a great week for reflection on the really important things in life.
What better way to do this than go with your family and some friends and watch and enjoy a really good movie that has received an A Plus rating from movie goers. With that sort of recommendation, you simply cannot go wrong. Have a Happy Easter!
Yours for more Family Friendly Movies