"Just make sure if you choose to see this you don't have eggs near by"
Jeremy's Egg is a stupefying in its awfulness. It exists as a perfunctory piece of Christian/family entertainment, and inhabits in a world only accompanied by soap operas. Scarcely has the genre of wholesome family entertainment been plagued by an attempt to encapsulate the worst cinematic tendencies and clichés all in one film, and this is coming from someone who has sat through the Michael Keaton film Jack Frost and the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise.
This is simply one of the most emotionally manipulative, aesthetically hollow pictures I've ever seen. It's as cold and robotic as many high school video projects in its portrayal of a family that is repeatedly shattered by calamity and exhausting circumstances over and over again. Our lead character is Jim Winter (writer, director, and producer Steve Viall), a stressed father, working as a Navy pilot, who has just married his longtime sweetheart and had a child named Jeremy (Jackson Lee), who has unfortunately developed a serious mental illness greatly stunting his mental development, speech, and muscle control. Things go from bad to worse when Jim's wife dies in a tragic car accident, leaving both him and his young child left lost and seemingly hopeless.
Jim allows Jeremy to spread his wings with his parents for a bit, while he tries to work things out in the Navy, retiring from his lieutenant position. After that, Jim goes to live with his parents and Jeremy, attempting to get him adjusted to the new setting, the new school, and the new atmosphere. This proves to be a challenge, but when Jim begins to crush on Jeremy's schoolteacher (Carole Lee), he realizes that perhaps his and his son's happiness isn't a fairy tale anymore.
You may ask, "why is this film called Jeremy's Egg?" It's a good question; one you may have even if you saw the movie. Jeremy receives a small plastic egg from his teacher and is told to bring a small little something that can be shown to the class. When the teacher shows what he brings into class (which I won't spoil), it's supposed to be an emotional reveal, yet it's hollow and explained in such a baffling manner that its resonance isn't even enough to stick with us. Mainly because it remains almost entirely unexplained and its significance is only populated by the title. Even when it makes its appearance at the end in a, I don't know, profound way to have a father second-think his choice it comes off as questionable. This egg hasn't had enough importance to warrant the picture being named after it.
Yet that is truly the least of my concerns when analyzing this film. Aesthetically, it has the appearance, vibe, and presence of a homemade movie. I hate criticizing a budget when reviewing a film, due to the possibility of financial restrictions on part of the filmmakers, yet something must be said for the low-budget nature of Jeremy's Egg. It's astonishingly cheap. Given that Steve Viall is an every-man on this project and was clearly the driving force, perhaps he put all his money, or eggs, for the sake of a pun, in one basket, hoping that this film would be come a classic and take off in the world of Christian cinema. Perhaps he has succeeded, fore I caught Jeremy's Egg on a local Christian station under the ambiguous title of "Parables" on a bright Saturday afternoon.
I have no problem with Christian entertainment, but when the use of God, Jesus, and other central figures of Christianity are being played as plot-points to get a story off its feet, even I, a non-believer, cringe. Christianity just so happens to be one of the biggest religions portrayed on film, and I've seen films incorporate it effectively. But I suppose, like all good things, there's a way to do it strongly and a way to do abysmally. Jeremy's Egg isn't just unsubtle as it incorporates Christian theology into its story, it's contrived and remarkably unremarkable.
Jeremy's Egg was originally a short story by Ida Mae Kempel, which gathered of several awards and is regarded as something of an unsung classic. The film, on the other hand, shouldn't be looked at the same way. It's a redundant, overacted, incompetent picture plagued by the worst tendencies of Christian cinema, not even elevated by a comic relief of sentimentality. Not to mention, the two visceral scenes in this film that are geared to evoke emotion and pain in the viewer are so hammy and overplayed that they might as well have been science fiction. Just make sure if you choose to see this you don't have eggs near by.
Starring: Steve Viall, Carole Lee, and Jackson Lee. Directed by: Steve Viall.
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