Starring: Stephen Baldwin, K Callan
Directed By: Dallas Jenkins
Written By: Wes Halula
Running Time: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
Rated PG-13 for Some Mature Thematic Elements
Plot: Five depressed and lonely people find their lives unintentionally impacting one another the night before Christmas.
LANCE’S TAKE: REVELATION
Some time ago, Mary and I had the privilege of interviewing director Dallas Jenkins, and in that interview he said he was really proud of his film, Midnight Clear. Well, after screening it for the first time, I can certainly see why.
Overall, Midnight Clear is a very interesting story with an ending that isn’t wishy washy. Some of the dialogue and acting could’ve been better, but for the most part, it’s believable enough to pull you into what’s happening. There’s a lot of heartfelt interaction in between the main characters as the plot moves along, which makes it even more compelling.
I was actually stunned at how much I enjoyed this movie. I didn’t think I would at first, because the way the characters are introduced feels kind of strange. But, after that initial awkwardness, the characters’ stories really start to take off. In fact, after the movie was over, I wanted to know what was going to happen to them next. Not many Christian films can do that.
The film doesn’t preach to the choir, either. It doesn’t push any agenda on the viewer; it uses the circumstances the characters are in to subtly get its message across. It gives you something to think about, rather than telling you what to think. Again, there aren’t many Christian films that can do that.
The production value is pretty high as well – it’s one of the few faith-based movies I’ve seen to actually be shot on film (that was released after 2000, that is).
It’s a real shame Midnight Clear didn’t have much of a following after its release. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it in any Christian bookstores. But, that’s the beauty of Netflix.
So, if you’re looking for an entertaining movie that’s well crafted and doesn’t jam religion down your throat, Midnight Clear is worth tracking down. Although it is a Christmas movie, it’s one you could enjoy almost anytime of the year. I give it a strong “Revelation.”
MARY’S TAKE: REVELATION
Usually, when I think of a Christmas movie, I think of an uplifting, joyful film filled with Christmas carols and snow. You won’t find a lot of that in Midnight Clear, but it’s a different kind of Christmas movie. Midnight Clear doesn’t just have a feel good “fa-la-la-la-la” type of story; it has an important message that we all too often forget, especially at Christmas.
I was surprised by how much I liked this film. The acting was really good, yet simple. There’s not an abundance of background music, which I liked. It made the story feel more authentic to me.
There’s also not any heavy-handed preaching to scare away viewers who may not be Christians. I think it’s great when a faith-based film can appeal to everyone. Midnight Clear is that kind of movie. And most importantly, almost everyone will be able to relate to it in one way or another.
It has a strong message of despair, hope, and the often overlooked goodness in each of us. It may just bring tears to your eyes. It’s rare to find a faith-oriented film that actually lets you feel the same emotions as the characters.
I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this picture. I believe loneliness is a hard subject to film effectively, especially when you’re trying to make a Christmas movie about it. But, the filmmakers did a wonderful job, and the end result is not only worth watching, but worth sharing.
It’s not hard to figure out what rating I’m giving Midnight Clear – I give it a “Revelation.” If you’re looking for a great movie for the Christmas season, be sure to check this one out.
How would you rate this film?