Perfect Family, The
PG-13
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -3

Kathleen Turner, Jason Ritter, Emily Deschanel, Richard Chamberlain. Drama/Comedy. Written by Paula Goldberg and Claire V. Riley. Directed by Anne Renton.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Suburban mother and devout Catholic Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner) has always kept up appearances. When she runs for the Catholic Woman of the Year title at her local parish—an award she has coveted for years—her final test is introducing her family to the board for the seal of approval. Now she must finally face the nonconformist family she has been glossing over for years. Her gay daughter, Shannon (Emily Deschanel), a successful lawyer, is about to marry her life partner, Angela (Angelique Cabral). Her unhappily married son, Frank Jr. (Jason Ritter) is cheating on his wife with the local manicurist. And Eileen's own marriage to a recovered alcoholic is pulling at the seams.

PREVIEW REVIEW: We Christians are a faulty bunch: a fact Hollywood builds quite a few productions upon. Admittedly, there are some who use religion for other reasons than drawing themselves closer to their Creator. The rest of us sometimes (or often) put His will aside in favor of ours. Though this practice seems expedient at the time, there’s generally a price to pay for our minor or major rebellion. The Perfect Family perfectly illustrates a person getting caught up in the laws of our churches rather than the love of God. For Believers, this film can be a cautionary tale, one that reminds us to hate the sin, but love the sinner (Jude 1:23).

I’m not convinced, however, that the filmmaker’s goal was to aid Christians in their faith walk. Whenever I see a film that showcases the faults of Christians without depicting any positive portrait of the faithful, I get the distinct impression that the filmmaker has an unsympathetic agenda.

In this film the lead’s children have basically turned from teachings they had been brought up with. The daughter is gay and the son is committing adultery. How’s this poor woman supposed to react? All her life she’s been taught that these are sins. But these grown children never show an understanding for their mother’s belief system. They do not honor their mother.

Both in today’s movies and often in the society’s culture, the individual’s rights come before others. “You can’t make others happy until you are happy yourself” sounds good, but in practice it’s a theory more leaky than a sieve.

For all the understanding the secular community demands of churchgoers, it fails to understand our dilemma. When it comes to following the teachings laid down for us in the Bible, it’s a slippery slope once we start hacking away at biblical instructions that don’t fit the mindset of a fickle society.

We could ignore verses in the Bible that refer to any human trait as immoral. Indeed, some ministers have done so. Let’s say we do that with homosexuality. Would nonbelievers be content should theologians capitulate? Or, would they then demand further deletions concerning biblical principles? Well, that’s a no brainer.

God says a gay lifestyle is immoral in Romans 1:26, 27, and in 1 Corinthians 6:9 the word abomination is used to describe the lifestyle. What are we supposed to do? Do we pretend it doesn’t say that?

Personally, I don’t care what someone else does in their bedroom. That’s between them, their partners, and God. Just don’t ask me to join the parade or turn my back on teachings found in several books of the Bible. I’m basing my life on biblical teachings. Can I ignore them simply to appease others?

Before you activists who search the web in order to detect those friendly to your cause and those who aren’t, I freely admit that we Christians are to avoid a sense of superiority when quoting those verses. Upon reexamination of those biblical dispatches and the surrounding texts, it becomes apparent that homosexuality is not all that's displeasing to the Heavenly Father. In fact, we are all blameworthy of some infraction. However, those of us attempting to develop our Christian walk soon find ourselves ashamed of the natural man's disobedience to God. Therefore, we don't parade our peccadilloes. We are not proud of our transgressions. Nor do we try to convince others to accept them. With God's help we will conquer these faults. With His mercy, we will be forgiven them.

No one reading this argument should consider this writer antagonistic. No Christian has the right to place himself above you. Christians are, however, taught that we are to incorporate biblical principles into our life’s plan, and to speak out concerning the need to study the Bible, and not be led by those who don’t.

“We all fall short of the Glory of the Lord” (Romans 3:23).
“God will forgive us, but not until we give up justifying our failings” (1 John 1:8-10).
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them” (1 John 4:5 NIV).
“But as for me and my household, we will serve (honor) the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

About now each of you, no matter your theological leanings, is asking, “Hey, what’s with the sermon? Where’s the review?” Well, okay, you asked for it.

The filmmaker’s social agenda is heavy-handed, his awkward handling of tone disconcerting, and the production seemingly more an indictment of the Catholic church than an instructive parable. And Ms. Turner (also a producer of the movie) is cartoonish in some scenes, and strangely clumsy with other scenes that were meant to amuse or poignantly address the plot points.

Everybody is working too hard with the comic moments and the film seems directed with all the subtlety of a Benny Hill episode. I kept wondering, is this how those involved in this production see the entire Christian community? Then it’s more of an indictment on themselves. There are those among us who demonstrate their fellowship with Christ each day, often sacrificing for others, some even dying for their beliefs. Surely they deserve as much spotlight as those of us who frequently display our hypocrisies. So, why didn’t the filmmakers do that? Try such a one-sided examination of any other group, be it ethnic or religious, and see how that community responds.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Variance Films

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Three or four minor expletives.
Profanity: Two misuses of Christ’s name; the expression “Oh my God” is uttered more times than on an episode of Friends.
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Implied sexual relations between two women, but other than kissing, we don’t see any graphic sexual gymnastics; same goes for a man who is committing adultery.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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