Unconditional (2012) Poster

(IV) (2012)

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8/10
Solid, compelling storytelling, if slightly overdramatized
Ian Reed5 September 2012
I got to see an early showing of this film, and went in knowing very little about it. When a special message for my screening played, describing the process of making it and revealing that it was coming from Harbinger, a media company "created to produce high quality theatrical films that honor God," I groaned a bit internally, fearing a trite, preachy, overly earnest two hours.

The film was wonderful. Beautiful, even.

It tells the story of Samantha Crawford, a woman whose life is falling apart. Her husband has been killed in a senseless incident, and she is severely depressed. Through a seemingly random encounter with two girls, she is reunited with one of her oldest friends, Joe Bradford.

I'm not sure whether or not the character of Samantha exists, but the parts about Bradford are all based on the actual man, who was involved in the production of the film. He is a truly inspiring figure, and the representations of his compassion and love for the impoverished neighborhood he lives in do not feel at all forced.

In fact, none of the film did, except for a small scene toward the end, and each character was well-written and well-portrayed.

I definitely recommend this movie. I suppose some may find it preachy, but it is mostly an examination of love and hope, and how to continue on when they are lost. Or even better, how to regain them. 8/10
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10/10
Spectacular
susan-ra-long23 September 2012
I absolutely love this movie, I had no idea that this movie would move me the way that is has. The story of the two characters and how they intersect in each others lives is wonderfully played out. I agree with the other reviews that the movie didn't seem forced at all because it seems its based on fact and not fiction. I was in tears, I laughed , and cried again. This story of unconditional love and redemption is wonderful. To make it even better the basis of the movie had in it the LOVE of God, many people may not appreciate that but its a beautiful concept to be placed in such a wonderful plot. The words to use for how I feel about this movie, I find none because it was just that awesome.
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10/10
An unexpected surprise ... excellent in every sense of the word
debsmith23 September 2012
I went into this movie with no expectations, but loved - loved - loved it! So many great messages, ideas, concepts ... I'll be thinking about this movie for a long time forward. It's full of Biblical concepts, but doesn't feel the least bit "preachy". Honor the PG-13 rating and don't take younger kids ... although the concepts of love, acceptance, struggle, faith, hope, etc. are universal, there is some violence and some of the subjects/themes are in many ways adult (as in grown-up, not as in sexual). Again, loved the movie and want to see it again to better soak in the details ... I may have missed something due to the tears (both sad & happy ones).
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10/10
Excellent Film
kplorax13 June 2013
The description of the film as "Christian-oriented" almost made me not watch this movie. I thought it might be too preachy or religious for my taste. I am glad I gave Unconditional a chance because it was an excellent film with an overall good spiritual message and a message about how important one person can be in a community and how important a community can be for one person. Nothing about the plot is too original and plot was sometimes unbelievable or just too scripted. Yet I loved it. With so many movies and documentaries focused on fighting and violence, it was refreshing to see a movie that was so positive without being too cheesy. Excellent acting by everyone but especially Lynn Collins and Michael Ealy. In the tradition of Pay It Forward.
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10/10
Extraordinary!
I was moved by the trailer, yet the movie really blew me away! I figured this would be an average B rated movie with a nice Christian plot to it. My kids ended up coming into the room and could not get up. This is the exposure to what is really going on in America right now with children. Fathers are SO important! Kudos to the actors and OMG to the children and even the horse. Certain scenes just had us crying. Rent this and you won't be disappointed! The other thing I liked was how a man actually found himself in prison and when he got out was actually a BETTER person and found love and happiness...WONDERFUL! thanks so much for a message of HOPE. God bless.
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9/10
Great Film!
Kevin Elzinga31 May 2013
I am disappointed that this movie did not see better box office ratings. It has many of the hallmarks of great movie-making.

The cinematography is terrific and a lot of thought is given to symbolism in the story.

The opening sequence is riveting; showing three lost souls each experiencing their own trials and turmoil.

A woman, whose husband was murdered, considers suicide in the alley where he was killed.

At the same time, two children are stealing from a store and must flee when spotted by security.

Finally, a man stumbles into his house in great pain.

While each character is suffering his or her trial, a storm is raging outside in the night.

Each character is on his or her own path and must face the storm in his or her own way.

Throughout the movie we learn a great deal about these characters through flashbacks as well as about the joys and hardships that bring each of the characters to where he or she is in the present. We do not know for sure what the fate of any character will be until the end of the movie.

I will warn you that the movie can be a tear jerker.

The movie has a way of capturing the subtlety of nature and its reflection of the human soul in a way that few movies can. The examples I list below are only a few of the many, brilliantly constructed scenes that appear throughout the movie.

A shadow falls on a character who is turning his or her thoughts to darkness and revenge. A ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds when a character makes a choice that is generous or brave.

A child...

...heard....

...but off camera...

...simultaneously warns his little sister and the main character NOT to make a choice.

"I wouldn't do that!" his voice calls out.

It is clear to us as viewers, that as far as the child character is concerned, he is only warning his little sister.

But the director makes it clear to us that the warning is somehow meant for BOTH characters.

And now each character must make a choice whether to pursue the action that he or she is considering pursuing.

This very brief, but powerful scene, hints at a hidden unity to the human spirit and whether each character, major or minor, heeds this warning plays a significant part in forwarding the theme of the movie which is that while we have free choice, our choices can lead to devastation, sorrow and ruin or they can lead to enlightenment, joy and success.

And with each choice that a character makes, the cinematographers alter the scenery and the lighting of the surroundings to match the path that each character takes.

I can't offer enough praise to the writers and the cinematographers of this film. They clearly worked together and communicated together from day one of this movie's production.

I never felt, when watching this, that anything was overdone. The movie had the right balance of story, theme and scenery to ensure that the viewer did not come away feeling preached at or advertised to.

I showed this movie to a group of students who have faced numerous trials of their own, whether in school or at home.

They were a bit hard to the idea of the movie at first, but after ten minutes, they were hooked and the hardness in their eyes had vanished.

This movie can speak to anyone going through a trial and I highly recommend it.
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10/10
What a Movie should be!
Adam21 September 2012
Hollywood has got it in there heads that a movie should have sexually suggestive material, pervasive language, and blood and gore all throughout the film in order to make a good movie.

Well Unconditional proves that you don't have to have those elements in order to have a great movie. Unconditional pulls at your heart in many ways. It makes you laugh and cry several times. Michael Ealy and Lynn Collins both give great honest performances. All of the kids do too.

This is an inspiring film for all to see. Please go and watch this movie and buy it when it comes out. Show your kids these kinds of movies and let them know God loves them all the time.
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Not a dry eye...
alex_clair-269-87710630 September 2012
I saw this movie last night. Afterwards had dinner with the producer's parents so was fun to get the back-story. I went in not expecting much since many smaller budget, independent films don't deliver. But... happy to report this was a very good film. It was well directed and acted. The writing flowed and technically sound. In other words, there was no element which distracted from being in the film and with the characters as the plot unfolded. The little boy that played the part of Macon must have a bright career ahead of him. Casting agents should give him consideration. I so agreed with the social dynamic of fatherlessness in America and how this impacts destiny. At the end of the film the audience actually applauded. I've only seen this once before in all my years of movie-viewing. By all means go and see this film. Or... put it on your list to rent when the DVD comes out. I'll be doing the same because I'll want to view it a second time and then pass along to my son and his family.
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10/10
Absolutely Loved this movie
bkmauch4291 July 2013
I highly recommend this movie. I absolutely loved it.

The story line kept me captivated the entire film. I loved the characters and the role of Papa Joe resonated with my heart.

You can't go wrong watching this movie.

There are some intense parts, but I am seriously contemplating having my 9 and 11 year old children watch this movie. There are numerous life lessons to be taught from this movie.

This movie is inspired by a true story and I love that at the end it directs you to check out their website www.unconditionalthemovie.com/act to look for ways that you can also make an impact on children in your own community.

The movie moves your heart and then gives connections on how you can help. Love it.
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10/10
This movie was a total surprise - I wasn't expecting it
Keith Doyle25 September 2012
So if you come away from a movie 'inspired' and even changed. The afterglow stays with you for a long while, the core message goes deep into your soul and like an incoming tide filing all the dry gaps between the rocks, it fills areas of your soul with new hope - how do you rate that regardless of it's 'Hollywood' quality? Personally - I give it a 9 or a 10. Few movies ever affect me like this. Unconditional did. It was very uplifting and encouraging. The movie had such a redemptive streak in it. There were some great twists and unexpected outcomes in this story. It showed grace touching those whose lives had been shattered through personal tragedy - kind of like the theme in a quote from Isaiah where it says 'a bruised reed I will not break, a smoldering wick I will not snuff out'. When I first looked at the ratings they were around 5.7 and there was another movie at 6.9 I was going to see, but the 3 of us went for Unconditional. We were all blown away - so glad we chose the 5.7 and have been talking about it since.
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