Saturday, March 25, 2023


April 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

How, you may rightly (or righteously) ask, could critics be cruel to a movie based on the true-life account of an eight-year-old child stricken with cancer who writes letters to God? Well, in the case of Letters to God, nearly all of them do so with obvious reluctance. Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times remarks at the beginning of his review: “It is tough to write about Letters to God without feeling like you’re kicking a kitten.” He then proceeds to kick the movie, which he says has “sincerity to spare but precious little dramatic tension or filmmaking flare.” And his is one of the better reviews. Consider Roger Moore’s in the Orlando Sentinel: “Slow and bland, this faith-based tear-jerker is a depressingly unemotional affair, with writing and some of the acting so flat that even its emotionally loaded situations can’t inspire waterworks,” he writes. Perhaps, however, the major newspaper critics ought to have attended the same screenings as those set up for writers for Christian publications. Michael Foust, who writes for the Baptist Press, notes: “In the screening I attended, plenty of tears were shed.” He then concludes his review this way: “Christians have long hoped for the day they could see more wholesome, quality, faith-based entertainment on the big screen. Perhaps that day is here.” On the other hand, Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times observes that the plotline had the makings of a “powerful film,” but that it obviously required restraint and subtlety. “Restraint and subtlety, alas, were not in the arsenal of the filmmakers,” he remarks. Most of the major critics simply ignored it.