Review of Movie The Greatest Showman

Last week, I watched The Greatest Showman. I would love to give it a glowing review because it reminded me of the classic movies I love, but my review is somewhat mixed. First, here’s the trailer for the movie.

The Greatest Showman

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Zac Efron

Director: Michael Gracey

Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

What I loved about the movie:

For acting, storytelling, theme, and performances, I give this movie 5 stars. I loved they made in a musical. The romance between PT Barnum and his wife was heartfelt. The theme of everyone having value was well done. The character arcs of PT Barnum and his assistant Carlyle were believable and made the characters three dimensional and likable. The plot brought us on the edge of our seats, and in the satisfying end, caused us to leave the movie theater feeling good. This reminded me of the classic musicals that I love from years past. There were no loose ends to be tied up. If it had been a fictional story about a fictional character, I would have praised the movie and recommended it to all my friends.

What bothered me about the movie:

While the romance between PT and Charity Barnum rang true, very little of the story reflected the truth about PT’s life. First, the timeline was all wrong. Barnum didn’t start his museum until his forties, and he was in his seventies before it became a traveling circus. He was not the feel good person in the movie. He is credited with first saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He would do anything to make money including exploiting his four year old nephew, the real Tom Thumb, and buying a 80 year old slave even though he was an abolitionist and claiming she was the 169 year old nurse of George Washington.

I do understand poetic license and changing the events to make a good story. I could have forgiven the rest of it, but one thing they changed bothered me more than any of the rest. In the movie, Jenny Lynd, the opera singer who toured America, was offered the tour by PT Barnum. That part was true.

What wasn’t true was that PT left Charity to go on tour with Jenny or that Jenny was infatuation with PT to the point of kissing him in front of reporters to get back at him for rejecting her attentions. PT was devoted to Charity, and Jenny Lynd never did anything like that. All of this was fake. Lynd, one of the greatest singers of the 19th century,  toured America and cut ties with Barnum because he insisted on too rigorous of a schedule to make more money from her. She donated everything she earned from the tour to charity. To cast her in such a negative light was shameful. This soured the movie for me.

Another part of the movie I didn’t like was how it was implied the museum was burned to the ground by people protesting the freak show. While nobody knows who burned down the theater, it is more likely it was because of the strong stand Barnum took as a politician against slavery before the Civil War and for equal rights after the Civil War. This would have made the story more powerful, especially if they showed Barnum exploiting a slave, Washington’s nurse, in the 1840s and becoming an advocate of abolition and equal rights later in his life.

As I said earlier, I wish the story had been about a fictional character because in reality, it was.


Review of New Ben Hur Movie

Ben Hur

Directed by Timur Bekmambetoz

Based on a novel by Lew Wallace

Starring: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Rodrigo Santoro

old film projector and movie objects


Review by Tamera Lynn Kraft

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

In the movie, Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur is a Jewish prince who lives a life of privilege and trying to keep his countrymen from rebelling against Rome. He knows it will only end in bloodshed. His adopted brother, Messala, who never felt he belonged in Judea, goes off to prove himself as a Roman soldier. When Messala returns, he falsely accuses Ben Hur of sedition and has his family executed. Ben Hur is sent to die as a galley slave, but he doesn’t die. He returns to seek revenge on the man he once called a brother.

I am an old classic movie fan. The old Ben Hur (1959) starring Charleton Heston, is one of my favorite Biblical sagas. Because of this, I doubted I would like this Ben Hur as much. I was wrong. The new Ben Hur is so much better than the old one. Jack Huston has done the impossible by making me forget about Charlton Heston. He came on the screen larger than life with a believably that Heston didn’t even have.

The chariot race is awesome with all of the special effects, but that isn’t what drew me in. The screen writers and actors did a top notch job of creating characters that seemed real. Even Messala wasn’t pure evil but had motives that made his actions understandable even if they were reprehensible. The best part was how Jesus was portraying. He didn’t have harp music playing in the background and everyone awestruck every time he came on the scene. There were no glows or halos, and he didn’t have blond hair or striking blue eyes. He showed what Jesus must have been like to the every day people living in that time. He wove in and out of the life of Ben Hur in a way that made sense.

I can’t say enough good about this film that really is a Tale of Christ as was the subtitle of the earlier movie. This one is a must see.

Review of Do You Believe Movie

Do You Believe


A dozen different souls—all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ … even if they don’t believe it. Yet.

When a local pastor is shaken to the core by the visible faith of an old street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a faith-fueled journey that powerfully impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate.

This stirring new film from the creators of God’s Not Dead is in theaters now. More than a movie, it’s a question we all must answer in our lifetimes: DO YOU BELIEVE?


  • Mira Sorvino (Samantha)
  • Sean Astin (Dr. Farrell)
  • Alexa Penavega (Lacy)
  • Delroy Lindo (Malachi)
  • Andrea Logan White (Andrea)
  • Cybill Shepherd (Teri)
  • Lee Majors (J.D.)
  • Ted McGinley (Matthew)
  • Madison Pettis (Maggie)
  • Brian Bosworth (Joe)
  • Tracy Lindsey Melchior (Grace)
  • Joseph Julian Soria (Carlos)
  • Valerie Dominguez (Elena)
  • Senyo Amoaku (Kriminal)
  • Mavrick Von Haug (Nefarius)
  • Delpaneaux Wills (40 oz.)
  • Liam Matthews (Bobby)
  • Makenzie Moss (Lily)
  • Shwayze (Pretty Boy)

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

If you’re looking for a Christian movie that is subtle and makes you feel good, this is not the right movie for you. This is an in your face movie that challenges you to live out your Christian walk in radical ways. Malachi, a street preacher, stops Pastor Matthew and asks him, “Do you believe in the cross?” Pastor Matthew explains that he is a pastor, so of course he does. Malachi challenges him. “If you believe, what are you going to do about it?”

That challenge is what this movie is all about. Pastor Matthew preaches a sermon about it, and the decisions that take place lead 12 people together for one event that changes their lives forever.

Contemporary Christian films are getting better with great directing, good acting, and terrific story telling. So many great films have come out during the last couple of years. This is one of the best, and I highly recommend it. I have one warning though. You’ll need tissues.

Movie Review of Left Behind

Left Behind

Directed by: Vic Armstrong

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassie Thomson, Nicky Whalen, Jordan Sparks, Lea Thompson

Left Behind is an apocalyptic Action-Thriller movie starring Nicolas Cage based on the New York Times bestselling novel that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times.

The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

The Steele family is caught on the razor’s edge of that darkness. RAY STEELE, an airline pilot, struggles to calm, and ultimately to save the lives of the passengers that remain on his flight, as the world below loses its ability to help his plane, and any other to safety. Running out of fuel, his equipment failing, his crew escalating into panic, Ray must guide the plane with the help of GWN reporter, CAMERON “BUCK” WILLIAMS who takes over the role of co-pilot in the face of the crisis. For Buck Williams, being trapped at 30,000 feet with a plane full of terrified passengers means a struggle to understand the incomprehensible.

On the ground, Ray’s daughter CHLOE STEELE struggles to find her young brother and mother, both of whom may have disappeared in the Biblical event. Forcing herself through the chaos, Chloe must navigate a world filled with terror and despair.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  and 1/2 ♥

I have mixed feeling about this movie. I loved some aspects and was that happy about others.

What I loved:

  • Powerful storyline that focused only on the rapture and didn’t try to cram the entire book into a two hour movie.
  • Great acting: What’s not to like about Nicholas Cage. I think the actors did a great job with the script they were given.
  • Special Effects: The special effects in this movie were awesome. There just weren’t enough of them.
  • Remake of song I Wish We’d All Been Ready

What I didn’t like as much:

  • Slow moving plot: The movie was about the rapture, but for whatever reason, they decided to wait until half way through the movie to show it. It slowed things way down to the point that I didn’t like the first half of the movie at all.
  • Cliché Christians: Every Christian shown before the rapture was one of those push their religion in your face type Christians. Considering this was a Christian world viewpoint movie, I found that odd.
  • Not enough special effects: What they had was good, but the previews made it seem like this was going to be a blockbuster type movie, and it fell far short of that.
  • Jordan Sparks performance: Jordan Sparks is a good singer, but she’s not that great of an actress.
  • Not a strong enough declaration of what had happened: At the end, they mentioned this was probably the rapture, but with all the build up, it didn’t quite proclaim it with enough conviction.

In conclusion, I wanted to love this movie, but I didn’t. I did like it. If it hadn’t been for all the hype to get me to expect a Nicholas Cage Hollywood blockbuster, I probably would have liked it more. I didn’t expect it to be a normal quality Christian movie. That being said, it is worth watching once.

The Giver Movie Review

Giver_Poster_NEW_200x300The Giver (2014)

Director:  Phillip Noyce

Starring:  Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.



My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

It’s difficult to write a review for this movie without giving anything away but I’ll try. This book is based on a novel I haven’t read but plan to read very soon. Rarely do I see a movie that I can’t stop thinking about days later. This movie literally portrays the perfect politically correct society. Everybody has given up their rights to emotion and individuality and have agreed to conform for the greater good. But the greater good turns out to be a greater evil. There is so much Christian symbolism in this movie, but at the same time, it is so subtle, you could miss it if you weren’t looking for it. The Giver makes one quote that I love. “We could decide to choose better.” This is a must see movie that is prophetic for the times we are living in.


Movie Review – Mom’s Night Out

Mom’s Night Out

Synopsis: A group of exhausted mothers venture into the city for a rare night out on the town, but their carefree evening without kids doesn’t go quite as planned in this family-friendly comedy.

Starring: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins, and Jason Burkey

Director: Andrew and Jon Erwin


My Review: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I love this movie. Love it. Have I said how much I love it. If you’re into vulgar comedy that uses cuss words and sexual innuendos to get a laugh, you won’t like Mom’s Night Out. This movie’s comedy is well thought out and uses situations from every day life that moms can relate to. That’s why it is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. At one point, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath. I didn’t disturb others in the theater with my outbursts because they were all laughing out loud as well. Yet it was also heartwarming. This is a family friendly movie with no bad language or vulgarity that is really funny. I loved it so much that I’ll probably buy the DVD so I can watch it over and over again whenever I need a laugh.



God’s Not Dead Movie Review

God’s Not Dead

GOD’S NOT DEAD features a talented cast of actors including Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD and JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ A lot of people have been talking about the movie, God’s Not Dead. I went to see it a couple of weeks ago and wanted to add my thoughts. I highly recommend it. It’s a great movie with many nuances and no trite answers. Here’s some of the things I loved about the movie.

I loved the storyline about a young man who wouldn’t deny Christ to bow down to the god of political correctness even though it cost him. He reminded me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they wouldn’t bow down to the king’s idol.

I loved that the story didn’t use a bunch of caricatures. Not every unbeliever was a jerk in this movie, and not every Christian wasn’t a jerk.

I loved that it showed a gambit of different beliefs and perspectives. Not only did it show athiests and Christians, but the girl who tried to hide her Christianity for fear of reprisals, the man from China who had been taught God is not real and would have to face political reprisals, the woman who was a Christian living with her atheist boyfriend, and the woman who thought she didn’t believe in God until she came face to face with her own mortality.

I loved that not everything turned out wonderful. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes there are costs to following Jesus. And sometimes bad people get away with horrific things with seemingly no consequences. This movie showed that.

I loved that the young man defending Christianity used science and philosophy in his argument. It is not illogical or unscientific to believe in God. In his ending argument, the main character showed that it is a choice to believe in God or not. But when a professor or anyone else tries to stop the discussion and force his atheistic viewpoint, he is trying to take away our choices.

There are other great things I loved about the movie, but if I said anymore, I would have to give a spoiler alert. All I can say is you should go see this movie. And take a friend who is questioning his belief in God.

My final comments about this movie – God’s not dead!