Pearl Diver
by Phil Boatwright

Joey Honsa, Amy Jean Johnson, Yevgeni Lazarev, Brian Boland. Monterey Media. Written & directed by Sidney King.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Pearl Diver is the story of two sisters, how they are haunted by the twenty-year-old murder of their mother, and what happens when a farming accident rips away the layers of secrecy and buried trauma surrounding that night.
Marian is a young mother who lives in the Mennonite farming community where she grew up, while her younger sister, Hannah, left the community to pursue a writing career in Chicago. When Marian's six-year-old daughter, Rebecca, is badly injured in a farming accident, Hannah returns home to help. As the two sisters struggle with the circumstances surrounding Rebecca's accident and how to pay for her medical treatment, their opposing world views drive them towards a penultimate confrontation and reconciliation over their shared past, a past that simultaneously divides them yet binds them together. What they learn is that sometimes the secrets from the past can bring hope for the future.

Pearl Diver won BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE at the Winnipeg Intíl Film Festival and at the East Lansing Film Festival, the CRYSTAL HEART AWARD at the Heartland Film Festival, the GRAND JURY PRIZE at the Indianapolis Intíl Film Festival and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at Woods Hole Film Festival. It has also screened at the St. Louis Intíl, Ashville, Bethel, Temecula Valley, Kansas Intíl, Rhode Island, Gloria Intíl and Stony Brook Film Festivals. It has been selected to screen at the upcoming Global Peace Film Festival, Malibu Celebration of Films and the Vermont Intíl Film Festival.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Wow! - a film whose special effects are story, character development and themes (forgiveness and the priceless gift of love) rather than explosions or mutilating monsters. I was very moved by the filmís incisive themes, which remind us that no sacrifice ultimately goes unrewarded. Sadly, few moviegoers saw this limited release back in 2006. That was their loss, as it was one of the best films of that year.

Now on DVD, it contains bonus features: Deleted scenes and thoughts from the director.

PG-13 (one obscenity (the s-word) and two minor expletives two misuses of Christís name, by the worldlier sister; when surprised, she also utters "oh my god," twice; a man dies in quicksand; a little girl is badly injured in a farming accident; we do not see the accident, just a blood soaked kitchen where the father had rushed her in; thieves kill a woman when she refuses to tell them where an expensive piece of jewelry can be found;† this is seen through flashbacks; though unnerving, because two little girls are involved and traumatized by their motherís murder, it is not meant to be exploitive, but rather incorporated to further the story, allowing us to understand the girlsí pain; the film presents Christians in a positive light).† Running Time: 90-some minutes. Intended Audience: Older teens and adults.

For more details, read the PREVIEW review HERE.