Review by KGB That's Me!
I have to admit that although I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years, I’ve always struggled with the story of the prodigal son. It’s so easy to relate to the feelings of the older brother, who did right all the while that his younger brother was squandering the family’s riches. It’s the same with the daughters in this film. As humans, we can completely relate to how the older sibling feels.
Even more, though, I think I struggled with how the father could welcome the prodigal child home with celebration. Of course, he’s glad his lost child has returned to the fold and is contrite and sees the err in his ways. And so it is with this film. As a parent myself, I think I would have seen the need to punish the daughter for the purpose of correction…at least to express some words of disappointment. I have no doubt I would have those kinds of thoughts to share with my child in this situation. But the ending of this film totally blew me away. The younger daughter, Reese Donahue, makes a speech that brought me to tears instantly. It was her speech that made me finally understand the reason her father showed her nothing but love and gave her no harsh words. It’s what was needed for her to see the light, understand the mistakes she’d made, and make the decision to turn her life around. It was the love in his actions that taught her the most.
And so it is with Jesus. Aren’t we amazed that He forgives us? Aren’t we amazed that He loves us, despite our sinful natures? Don’t we try to do right but often make the wrong choices? Yet He gives us the opportunity to repent and come back into the fold. And He does so with open arms. And we love Him all the more because He loves us anyway. All that hit me like a ton of bricks as Reese made her speech at the end. And finally, once and for all, I understood the story of the prodigal son more fully and why the father acted as he did.
This is a powerful film…more powerful, certainly, than I expected. And it inspired me to go and sit down with my teenage son and my husband and spill out what I’d learned…that light bulb moment I had at the conclusion of the film. I would really recommend this film for family viewing, and I think it could be used in conjunction with the study guide as the basis for a group bible study of the prodigal son parable.