[Happy 5th Birthday!] Letters to God (2010)

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Director: David Nixon, Patrick Doughtie

Cast: Robyn Lively, Jeffrey Johnson, Tanner Maguire, Bailee Madison, Michael Bolton

Screenplay: Patrick Doughtie, Art D’Alessandro, Sandra Thrift, Cullen Douglas

110 mins. Rated PG for thematic material.

 

The Dohertys are going through a rough period. The youngest son Tyler (Tanner Maguire, The Hangover Part II) has cancer. His older brother Ben (Michael Bolton, no not that one) is feeling neglected while worried about Tyler. The mother Maddy (Robyn Lively, The Karate Kid Part III, Ouija) doesn’t know how to process her son’s illness. When Brady McDaniels (Jeffrey Johnson, Helter Skelter), a new mailman, takes up the Doherty route and begins receiving letters to God from Tyler, it sets them all on a course of learning, loving, and growing that none of them could have predicted.

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This film takes true events and shoehorns them into a goofy religious piece of schmaltz that doesn’t do the actual events justice. Granted, this is one of the better films of this particular subgenre in recent years, but the film is just too damn long. It is so boring for most of the later 2/3 of the film. The performances are disappointing, most of the characters come off as trying to be Disney characters and the entire film feels like it would be indiscernible from Lifetime channel dreck.

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I like the general idea of the movie, and I feel like under better hands, it would make a pretty nice short film. The fact is, the runtime is by far the worst part of this not-so-great time at the movies. There are better ways to spend two hours, so I’ve saved you from it.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

ps. Don’t get on my case about giving bad reviews to religious movies. I have seen a few really good religious films in my time but this was not one of them. This one is more in line with Mom’s Night Out and that is what earned it bad props. So there, got it?

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