Starring: Molly Kunz, Tyler Ross, Allison Torem
Directed By: Stephen Cone
Written By: Stephen Cone
Running Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Not Rated (Although Content is PG-13 Equivalent, for Mature Thematic Material)
Plot: Three teens – one a devout Christian, one who’s losing her faith, and another who’s struggling with his sexual orientation – grapple with their lives in the church and with adults who may or may not be the best role models.
LANCE’S TAKE: REVELATION
One thing Christian films aren’t really known for is controversy. Most of them are watered-down, sermonizing, happily-ever-after pieces that tend to shy away from anything that might be too tough to tackle.
But, along comes a film like The Wise Kids that not only hits a number of sensitive subjects head on, but also lets viewers think for themselves. It’s very uncommon, and very welcoming.
However, this is not an easy film to sit through. The content in The Wise Kids goes far beyond what a normal Christian film would normally allow, and at times it had me wondering if Mary and I should even be reviewing it.
Almost every character in this movie has something they’re struggling with, and the filmmakers make sure those problems are not taken lightly. The emotional depictions of what the characters are going through is part of what makes the film so unsettling, but also makes it very real.
The fine direction and outstanding acting just add to the movie’s authenticity.
My only complaints are that the film is extremely slow-paced and some of the characters, although believable, seem to be a little cliché. A few of the shots also linger much longer than they need to, well after the viewer has already gotten the point of what’s going on in the scene.
But, that’s basically it. Everything else is about as top-notch as you can get – if you can bear to watch it.
The Wise Kids is definitely not a movie that everyone is going to enjoy or even tolerate. Again, it can be downright disturbing at times and challenges what most folks view as “normal” Christianity.
That said, I can’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 13 or to anyone who may be offended by material not shown in typical Christian films.
Also, if you’re looking for a faith-based flick that will give you a predictable ending, you need to turn elsewhere.
As for me, I love it when filmmakers try to break new ground, especially in the faith-based genre, and I particularly enjoy it when the movie is very well done.
Don’t look for this one in your local Christian bookstore, because it probably won’t be there. If you can find it, The Wise Kids is a wise choice for a movie pick. I give it a low “Revelation.”
MARY’S TAKE: REVELATION
Lance and I had a hard time deciding if The Wise Kids was supposed to be a faith-based film or not. It does have Christian undertones and is set primarily in a church. But, if you decide to watch it, tread lightly, because it’s definitely a controversial movie that has a lot of content that goes strongly against what most Christians believe.
That being said, I’ve decided to review the film, anyway. Everything else aside, what the movie really boils down to is the story of a church full of confused sinners. And if we’re painfully honest, doesn’t that describe every church? Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not against church, but even the Bible says anyone who claims they don’t sin is a fool. Actually, I think one of the main reasons Christianity is viewed so negatively is because a lot of us try to pretend we’re perfect and have everything figured out.
The Wise Kids may go to the extreme, but at its core, I feel it has a very important message: just because we’re Christians and we go to church doesn’t make us perfect. If it did, all we would need is church and not Jesus.
Now, I’ve already mentioned that this film is controversial. It also has many scenes that are very uncomfortable to sit through. But, I think it’s not only brave of the filmmakers to include those scenes, but it’s pretty important for viewers. We have no shortage of Christian movies chock-full of more “acceptable” sins like lying, stealing, lusting, etc. But isn’t it time we deal with the uncomfortable, “unacceptable” sins and remember that the Bible says all sins are equal?
The technical quality of The Wise Kids is much higher than a lot of faith-based films. And, the acting is really good.
I’ll let you decide for yourself whether the “questionable” content is good or bad. But that aside, there’s nothing I don’t like about this movie.
The Wise Kids gets a Revelation rating from me. But please remember, that doesn’t mean I agree or disagree with its content. It simply means I think it’s a well-made movie that gives the audience something to think about…if they’re willing.
How would you rate this film?