Production companies without the backing of a major studio seem to understand that audiences want films with purpose. One that will resonate with us in ways the latest blockbuster doesn’t. Not strictly categorized as “Christian,” this unknown film has a message, one that nearly makes up for some story telling with flaws.
1 Message (2011) Film Review
Becca Norris (Ashley Kate Adams) is bitter. Her life is nothing like the vibrant one she did enjoy. Now instead of wedding plans, she lays around on her couch feeling ugly and miserable with no job or motivation to leave her home. She’s scared to live. Following her breast cancer diagnoses, Becca refuses to speak to her estranged mother let alone her best friend and only tolerates her brother’s impromptu visits because he won’t take “no” for an answer. Hoping to inspire his sister, he sets her up with a new computer so she will pick up a hobby or two. In sarcasm, Becca tries to appease him and she begins to input their family history on an ancestry website. Only she receives a reply from someone.
Dean Stovall contacts Becca in a friendly email that she responds to with hostility. Over time, Becca’s resistance fades and in Dean’s outgoing, friendly letters, she begins to crave life again, realizing that beauty isn’t an outward façade but what’s on the inside that matters.
While visiting the new Christian book store, on a whim, I bought this. Strictly from a story-telling perspective, this isn’t a bad way to spend an evening. Sure, it lacks flair and the usual “oomph” that so many movies have, but something tugs at our heartstrings. Perhaps it’s the “real” way in which actress Ashley Kate Adams carries the film (no small task since she is basically the only one on-screen), or the script’s honesty, something makes want to know the end of Becca’s journey; whatever it may be.
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To be honest, this does bore me a time or two. It moves at the pace of a turtle and clocks in at nearly three hours. My mom and I were watching, and both of us kept saying, this must be nearly over, and yet it continues on. It’s only after we turned it off for the night we realized the thing had another good thirty minutes. The romantic in me adores Becca’s relationship with Dean; getting to know one another through letters is a sweet part. It’s pure and loving and most of all, it’s all building blocks on good friendship. He’s there when her world falls apart, literal distance didn’t prevent him from “saving” her, and similarly, she repays the kindness with something more precious.
Because of the pace, the impact is emotional. There is quiet beauty and once those credits roll on a sudden ending, we did like the film. Taking a different approach to telling a story should be admired and this one is honest about the aspect of life in which we close ourselves off from everyone – sometimes simply for selfish reasons and not for catastrophic health complications. Some cynics will also find the end result a bit selfish. If you are someone who doesn’t mind wiping a tear away or acting that is sometimes disjointed, then 1 Message is worth looking into. It’s not warm and cuddly or a good family film but it does have a message worth unwrapping.
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You can find 1 Message digitally on Amazon Video
Content: There is some “blunt” conversation regarding cancer and its surgery. A woman is seen becoming sick after seeing her body for the first time [this is off camera]. Implications suggest Becca lives with her boyfriend on occasion and there are mild suggestions to an intimate relationship.