Saturday, November 19, 2016


"BELIEVE" - The Christmas family Drama due for national release in U.S. Theaters on Friday December 2, 2016 is a powerful, gritty portrayal of the current condition of small town America in crisis. Yet, in this crisis is the eternal embers of Faith, Hope and Love......overpowering greed, political corruption and cynicism - a perfect portrayal of America in 2016.

IMDB describes the plot thus: "In a small town going through tough economic times, business owner Matthew Peyton (Ryan O'Quinn) struggles between his desire for financial success and the responsibility of funding the annual Christmas pageant. Desperate business decisions ruin his popularity and angry employees seek their revenge. When Matthew meets Clarence (Isaac Ryan Brown), a joyful boy who believes in miracles, he must make a choice: do what's best for himself or give faith a chance by opening his heart to help his community". (Click on link for website).

But it is more than just a story of love and faith overcoming sin and despair. What the writer/producer Billy Dickson accomplishes about 75% of the way through the story seems to be the root cause of some of the decisions people make in life, that affect their current condition. Yet in that moment of self-realization, when God uses the most unlikely people and circumstance to trigger the response which leads to restoration, comes the breakthrough which leads to healing, love and eventual victory. The uncovering of deep emotional scars and wounds comes in the dark night of the soul, where many people sometimes seem too comfortable to hide.
The grittiness of the casting, (with Ryan O'Quinn - JAG, ER etc..- as "Matthew Peyton", a blue-collar millionaire auto parts manufacturer/supplier going through hard times in any-town "Rust Belt, USA"), is outstanding. This is foundational to grasping the direction of this 21st century Christmas story. As a man who lost his parents in an accident, raised by his grandfather and thrown into the role of "benefactor" of both the town's major employer and Christmas pageant producer, Matthew is the original reluctant inheritor of the town pageant where all the local mom and pop vendors based their Christmas hopes for the shopping season. Hard economic times, fueled by a crooked accountant stealing the company blind and working for an outside crony to take over the Peyton Plant, seem to be leading to the cancellation on this one annual event which the town depends on.

When some "muscle" from the local union, connected to a high city official, almost kills Matthew in an assault outside an inner city building, a young boy named CJ (Isaac Ryan Brown as Clarence Joseph) rescues Matthew from almost dying in the street. CJ and his beautiful mother Sharon Joseph (Danielle Nicolet, Central Intelligence etc.) nurse Peyton back to health and from there the story takes off, as CJ's simple, yet unadulterated joy and faith in life (and God, the Life-giver) show Peyton a side of life he has never experienced.

The former Scrooge-like Matthew Peyton, who denies he is "Scrooge", then becomes the benefactor to many cold and homeless people living in the abandoned slum where CJ and Sharon live. The human interaction, crime and political intrigue accelerate as the movie then speeds up to a powerful and gripping conclusion. In all of this, though, Producer/Writer Dickson does a great job weaving humor, love and joy and the importance of Faith in the film as a young child (CJ) leads the hardened despairing business man (Peyton) to "believe". This ultimately happens when CJ is almost killed in fire set by the crooked accountant Albert Bagley (Kevin Sizemore - Woodlawn, Fear of The Walking Dead Flight 462). 

The hospital room scene leads the now broken Peyton to Sharon's well-used Bible. He finally admits his brokenness to an unconscious CJ in his hospital room. Peyton then confesses that he finally believes. He never actually says in Whom he believes, but the viewer should know. The Name of Jesus does appear on a sign at the end of the film when the town finally gets its pageant off the ground. There is a lighted sign which says "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON"....and that He is! There are some discussion of Faith, the power of prayers and "righteousness" during some of the tough scenes in the movie. In addition, the movie website Resources tab does have PDF's for small group discussion and is worth checking out. Click here.

This could be the surprise faith-based hit for the 2016 Christmas season and definitely worth taking the family to the local theaters, across the Heartland. BELIEVE is rated PG and is a production of POWER OF 3 ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION. Click here for BELIEVE, the movie website.

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