A Vow to Cherish (1999 TV Movie)
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First, the entire content is particularly educational. It has something to offer to the modern audience - pure right faith and some answers for the universal questions. Is there a need for Christ in our times? Does Love still matter? What for is there faith? What is the logics of burden and suffering in life? Is there really Someone by my side I can always trust? The movie provides the answers through the content since all that happens to the characters may as well happen to any of us.
Second, the movie is exceptionally humane. The main characters experience inner struggles and cope with extremely hard decisions. Is it better for Kyle David Denman) and Teri (Megan Paul) to start their own lives and forget about the family or retain the values they were taught at home? Is it better for John (Ken Howard) to leave Ellen (Barbara Babcock), his sick wife, and start a new happy life with Julia (Donna Bullock), a woman he falls in love with? In fact, Ellen no longer recognizes him... Yet, he decides to vow HIS WIFE eternal fidelity. Had John's rebellious brother, Phil (D. David Morin), better go on his easy life although it does not bring him satisfaction or once start to think seriously of his life. Phil's prayer to God in the park is a psychological masterwork of universal aspect of humanity. These words could be as well said by everybody no matter of where, when or how they live.
Third, the movie is a great portrayal of family, not very popular nowadays: there are problems, yet, there is always something more powerful that gets these people together. This "something" is love and trust. I know that it may seem a bit idealistic. Not all families can rely on fidelity and it may not be as simple as that. Nevertheless, it is a very educational aspect and a realistic one.
Fourth, the entire film focuses on people's mutual help. If we want to live happy lives in our society, we must understand one thing: we have to help one another. Alexander (Ossie Davis) is an example of such attitude. At the beginning of the movie, we see him talk to John about praying. Later, he helps his brother. Alexander is a kinda "angel" that is sent to John and his family. Isn't it possible that we may become angels to one another?
Fifth, the artistic features are also worth attention. PERFORMANCES: Barbara Babcock gives an authentic performance as Ellen and although she has a difficult role, she does a perfect job. Consider, for instance, the moment she appears at school and badly wants to teach again. Ken Howard is also memorable as the faithful husband. PICTURE: The most memorable for me was the scene of John and Ellen in the park walking on the fallen leaves (autumn) while the sunshine (love) spreads everywhere. I interpreted as a sort of symbol: even if there is sorrow, this can always be illuminated by light and joy...
A VOW TO CHERISH is a wonderful movie that realistically showed to me what it means to love, what fidelity is as well it once again proved to me how beautiful it is to live and believe. At the end, I would like to quote the profound words from the movie I found very touching and hope you will also do
Kyle to his uncle Phil: Yes, he (John Brighton) lives according to the Bible. But nobody forces you to do so. Yet, according to what rules do you live?
Though the production isn't quite Hollywood quality--no big special effects--still, the values and ideals portrayed more than make up for it. And the cast did a wonderful job of capturing the emotional connections between family members, and the devastation that occurs when one of them becomes ill.
You don't want to miss this!
You know something. Something like a terrible disease hitting the family, it happened to my grandma two years ago. She died of brain aneurysm, but the amazing thing she did was she accepted Christ as her Savior days before she passed on. It's strange because all her life, she never believed there was a God until she was struck by that. I'm really glad she made that choice. So I can relate to that movie.
Definitely worth seeing... buy the DVD.
That said, the acting is quite good. Ken Howard is basically a legend, and it's fun to see him on screen with Ossie Davis. There are also a few nice touches in the direction and editing. But unless you're a fan of Billy Graham or deeply predisposed to his worldview and ideology, the reverend's lengthy appearance preaching in a stadium almost single-handedly ruins the picture. That scene as filmed is a baffling choice, because a local church service would have accomplished these narrative and spiritual goals in a more natural, less readily off-putting way.
The Graham scene in particular takes an otherwise gentle message of faithfulness and loyalty, and delivers it with all the tender appeal of a swinging sledgehammer. I liked parts of this film but I cannot recommend it at all.