Mercy Me is a band that rocketed to popularity after releasing their first real song, "I Can Only Imagine." The song itself you can easily find on YouTube or Amazon and you will see why the song exploded through to number one on the charts and has remained very popular over the years even as the band has produced other hits. That song was a juggernaut!
But how did the song and the quality of the band come to be? "I Can Only Imagine" presents this captivating backstory with a great deal of depth and rawness. I knew nothing about this story when I took my family to see the movie (although I had heard the fabulous song before). If you do not already know the story, please take my advice and do NOT research it before you go. Afterwards, you're off the leash!
A special note about Dennis Quaid: I am proud to be a fan once again. Quaid played years ago in several enjoyable wholesome movies but then perhaps he felt pigeonholed leading him, in a series of misguided judgments, to take on roles that were radically unsuitable and even disgusting. His role in this film provided a badly-needed redemption from that deeply disappointing season. His character here was an interesting creative challenge, and wow, did he deliver! Let's hope for more like this from him.
Others have already noted the underutilization of the rest of the cast, and I do wish we could have seen some more of them. The story was intense enough that fitting it into two hours probably made it impossible to allow too much off-axis character development, but the supporting actors really held up their end to make the story come alive.
As the lights came up when the movie was over, there was only muted applause, as though the audience felt a duty to be courteous. Didn't they like it? Well, yes, they did but a large percentage of the audience in the fully-packed house were so deeply moved that they were tearing uncontrollably and it was the best they could manage.
Please forgive me for totally messing up this review, but the impact of this movie has burrowed into me and I am simply not myself. Please see rgkarim's or any of several other reviews for a better analytical breakdown. You will generally find that on balance the story was compelling, the production values good, the cast executed well, and the pacing was well-managed delivering the sparkle that makes a movie special.
For the anti-Christians or non-entity Christians I normally have snarky comments in my reviews reserved for you but, for this movie, I just hope you see it with an open heart, that the pot is stirred inside you, driving you to see in a way you haven't seen before, think in a way you haven't thought before, and ultimately to receive a deeply satisfying future you hadn't conceived before. I'll be here cheering you on.
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