Gavin McLeod, Jansen Panettiere, Frankie Ryan Manriquez, Allen Isaacson, Taylor Boggan, Bailey Garno, and Mary Jean Bentley
Five & Two Pictures
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The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
- Set in the summer of 1970, The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry tells the story of Dustin, who has gotten his first crush on a girl named Tanya, and his friends. Nick, the class bully, is harassing Dustin and his friends. One day an old neighbor, Jonathan Sperry, asks Dustin to mow his lawn. When he’s finished, he gives Dustin lemonade, an extra dollar and starts witnessing to him about Jesus Christ.
Soon, not only Dustin but also his friends are coming to Mr. Sperry’s house for a Bible study. They’re continually harassed, however, whenever they pass by Nick. They want revenge, but Mr. Sperry tells them to love their neighbor, so the question is, will love work to transform the hard-hearted, mean spirited Nick or will he continue to harass Dustin and his friends?
The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry is a very sweet, kind-hearted evangelistic movie. The children come to Christ, and the movie wants to bring audiences to Christ. This is one of the best movies that the Christiano Brothers have done. Gavin McLeod (The Love Boat) does a brilliant job as Jonathan Sperry. The camerawork is immaculate, and the music is well suited to the story.
Regrettably, however, the movie is slow. Much of the dialogue is static. The weak dialogue happens when people keep affirming each other, such as: “Dustin, do you want some cake?” “Yes, I want some cake, thank you.” “Did you like the cake?” “Yes, I liked the cake.” “Would you like some more cake?” Whatever people say in life is not in what they should say in the movies. Different personalities should be at odds with one another, and all the dialogue should move the story forward. Dialogue in conflict should tell the story of the movie.
Another major problem is a lack of jeopardy. A movie has to have something at stake that the hero will fight for and the villain will kill for. There are moments of jeopardy in the movie, but they are quickly dropped and forgotten.
Despite these flaws, however, this movie is surprisingly winsome and endearing. The characters are well defined, and the audience can empathize with them. And, there are moments in the movie that are truly moving. Best of all, this is a movie the whole family can enjoy together.
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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