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No Greater Love
By Amy Nickerson
- Jeff Baker (Anthony Tyler Quinn) had the love story everyone wants. You know how it goes – boy meets a girl named Heather (Danielle Bisutti) at a young age, they become best friends, spend the high school years as sweethearts, and get married straight out of college. Everything is perfect, until after the birth of the couple's son when Heather falls into a deep depression. Soon, the once ideal pair can do nothing but argue, and Heather vanishes from the picture. Ten years later, Jeff is still recovering from his broken heart when Heather shows up again in an unusual place – church.
No Greater Love, the newest release from Lionsgate and Thomas Nelson, explores themes of hope, forgiveness, and ultimate redemption, through Jeff and Heather’s second chance at love. Targeting those who are facing marriage difficulties and raising questions about unequally yoked couples, divorces, and more, the film’s relevant message will resonate with many viewers.
In addition to its experienced cast of Jay Underwood (Uncle Buck, The West Wing), Danielle Bisutti (Get Smart, Without a Trace), and Eric Bivens-Bush (Everybody Hates Chris, ER), the movie has put to use the talent of Christian music artist Michelle Tumes. The award-winning singer and songwriter both composed and performed the original score, accentuating the message and cinematography well with contemporary music that will stick in viewers’ heads. The film also is made complete with the help of a free downloadable online study guide that helps viewers, individually or in a group setting, explore in greater depth the biblical principles presented in the film.
In spite of the powerful message and additional advantages, the movie does have its weak points. For instance, Heather’s character does not really come into the plotline until about half an hour into the movie. Instead, Jeff is seen getting ready to propose to another, a beautiful and compassionate woman. Obviously, the focus of the love story is on Jeff and Heather, but one cannot help but get a bit too attached to the wrong woman right from the start.
Another problem is the title. Though chosen for its strong Christian emphasis and catchy wording, confusion comes when taking a look at what the title actually references. John 15:13 states, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (NIV). Although the Gospel is clearly portrayed in the end, the focus of the film does not particularly fit with this theme of giving up life for the sake of love. Instead, it ends up misleading viewers into thinking about unrepresented themes, such as death and sacrifice.
Besides these problems, it also should be mentioned that Jeff is not a Christian in the movie. This being the case, there are references to living together before marriage, and he also is seen drinking alcohol on multiple occasions with other characters. However, most of the content is clean and suitable for the PG rating, which was given for thematic material.
The script itself is at times preachy, but is entertaining for the most part. The plotlines are interesting to watch and the characters are lovable. Heather and Jeff’s ten-year-old son, Ethan, played by Aaron Sanders, makes a great addition to the cast and boosts the movie’s already cute story.
In our modern world, where divorce, single-parent homes, and marriage difficulties are commonplace tragedies, No Greater Love speaks boldly on issues that will hit home with many viewers. With a moving plot, a host of interesting characters, and a clear message, the film aims to spread the hope of God’s love. This is what ultimately speaks volumes by the end, leaving viewers with the satisfying perspective that second chances through forgiveness and redemption are not only possible, but within their reach.
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