Let's be clear on something from the start: this is not a "great" film, not something that is or deserves to be in the canon. Technically speaking, it is fairly amateurish, although for an early low-budget independent effort this crew is fairly competent and I would be happy to see them succeed. The cast is mostly bearable, and big kudos for using actors that actually looked like teenagers in a high school.
"Echoes of Innocence" is not a typical teenage flick along the lines of "Clueless," "10 Things I Hate About You," etc. ad infinitum, and be grateful for that. Our 17-year-old protagonist is a Goth girl saving herself for marriage and nursing an obsession with Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and St. Joan of Arc. Most people call her "Virge," but she has the self-esteem to take it in stride and so we are spared some of the more agonising scenes of teenage angst.
On the other hand, that is part of the problem. This movie touches on but fails to explore the depth that seems to be underlying these characters and ultimately fails to weave religious and moral struggles into the fabric in a meaningful way. Sarah is an interesting character: she's not a Catholic but she has visions, she recites the prayers, she appears to study the Faith, she apparently believes in the Sacraments (attempting to take Confession, Absolution and Penance) and seeks the counsel of a Catholic priest. So why had she not she attempted conversion? We never get any hint, and so we are never really drawn into her personal journey.
But this is just one example of the film failing to draw out its potential. So many of the characters look like they could be more than stereotypes and our suspicions are just never confirmed. I wonder if perhaps this story reflects an obsession on the part of the scriptwriter and a literary immaturity that hampers its full expression. (I also suspect part of the problem is that this film fails to conceive of the world outside teenybopper suburban America, which is definitely not--proliferation of Young Life ministries aside--a good breeding ground for a deep Faith or culture.) As for the ending... ugh, the completely cheesy and pointless villain sub-plot, the Deux ex Machina.
Kudos for attempting to be uplifting, but shame for taking good, solid literary elements and totally smashing them on the floor. This isn't bad if you've got an extra evening off and want to make it a popcorn-and-Pepsi night, but if you're looking for a good Christian-themed film about the struggle of Faith of a young person who's actually a real human being, you're definitely better off looking at Robert Bresson's "Le journal d'un Curé de campagne"--just be warned that if you're the type who goes for cheap thrillers like "Echoes of Innocence," you'll find the former far too slow for your tastes.
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