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Don't know what happened last time I submitted this. The comment must be floating around somewhere out there in the ether, a lot of lost little pixels.
The movie grabs us, almost in spite of itself, because of the importance of the issues it deals with. That's really the only reason to watch it. Both the principals are actors of modest talent, although Rosanna Arquette gets a chance to stretch herself a bit. The production values are low, the dialogue clunky, and the direction efficient without being in any way imaginative. In other words, it's a regular made-for-TV weeper, except that the movie, reflecting the case itself, asks us to consider exactly how far these two parents (or any of us) are willing to go to demonstrate the depth of their faith. This movie deals with the tragic death of a boy who was denied insulin because his parents belonged to an ideology that asserts that illness and healing are in God's hands. Well -- okay. Would you be willing to sacrifice your son for your beliefs? How about if you believed in an ideology that identified another religion or another nation as "evil" and called upon you to release your son to wage war against them? You see my point. We can recognize the folly in belief systems like those of the mother and father in this case, because we ourselves don't subscribe to them. But when we are members of an ideological community that recruits, say, soldiers or suicide bombers, we might find ourselves watching proudly as they march off to an equally senseless death.
Mr. and Mrs. Parker refuse to betray their trust in God. It's easy for us to judge them because we are outside the box. The movie ultimately takes the same position as we do. The parents are treated sympathetically throughout, so that we never feel they are stupid or evil. Yet, at the end, as Reinhold and Arquette embrace, he quotes from the Bible of the three good things -- faith, love, and something else. "And the greatest of these is love," he finishes the quote. And he explains to Arquette (and to the audience) that they made the mistake of putting faith before love, thus causing the death of their son. He might as well have turned to the camera and explained, "You see, it's like this. Faith in God is a good thing, but it's a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket. If you love somebody or something, you use all the tools in your arsenal, including prayer AND medicine." (I'll bet the AMA loved this one!) I wish he'd have taken it a bit further. All things in moderation, including faith in God. Another five minutes of this and he could have turned into a closet Buddhist. I'm deliberately kidding. But, all seriousness aside, suppose this benighted couple were pacifists. They would then be outside of OUR box. And when they observed the slaughter of the belligerents in war, they might feel roughly the way we do towards them. What a big mistake they made.
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