The Ultimate Gift
by Phil Boatwright
Drew Fuller, Abigail Breslin, Ali Hillis, Lee Meriwether, Brian Dennehy, James Garner. Fox Faith. Drama. Written by Cheryl McKay. Based on the novel by Jim Stovall. Directed by Michael O. Sajbel.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Upon the death of his extremely wealthy grandfather, a rebellious rich kid (Drew Fuller) learns that he has to accomplish several tasks before receiving his inheritance. Through these arduous missions and the grounded people he meets along the way, the young man comes to a spiritual enlightening.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Biblical lessons are making their way back into films with the arrival of studio branches designed to reach Christians and spiritual thinkers. It’s a time of new birth complete with labor pains. These movie companies are searching for the best way of presenting spiritual matters much the same way pioneer filmmakers once experimented with camera placement, editing trickery and the addition of sound. Most of these recent explorations containing religious subtext have disappointed critics and moviegoers alike, as we have expected instant maturity in this field. The motion picture trailblazers of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s had one advantage over their current counterparts; the innocence of the cinema patron. Modern moviegoers, however, have seen it all, every special effect and every story element, including a few examples of New Testament enlightenment. And they aren’t much for stepping back in time. The filmmakers attempting the blending of technical and artistic achievement with an infusion of spiritual subject matter often appear simplistic, like toddlers taking first steps. Gratefully, with many of these new films we see growth. Such is the case with The Ultimate Gift, the latest effort released by Fox Faith. The Ultimate Gift doesn’t preach, it merely suggests. For example, when the lead character finds himself in a hospital chapel, he reverently contemplates at the foot of a statue of Christ. It is an honest, moving moment as he discusses eternal matters with a sickly child. And when this protagonist determines to do for others by building a massive clinic, he points out where a chapel will stand. The film doesn’t say, “Repent,” but this significant detail implies that religious awareness is at the center of his good intentions, and should, therefore, be apart of ours.The DVD is presented in widescreen and features:

An introduction by author Jim Stovall
Behind-the-scenes featurette with cast/crew interviews
Leave a Legacy PSA with Bill Cobbs
“Something Changed” by Sara Croves music video
Legacy by Ed Groggin music video
Closed captioned Trailers
A Sneak Peek – The Redemption of Sarah Cain

The Ultimate Gift is rated PG (the term “screw you” is spoken, but it is used to reveal the hostile nature and self-centeredness of the lead before he becomes enlightened; there are a couple of minor expletives, but no other harsh language; at one point the lead and another man are captured and held hostage by South American narcotics warlords; they are beaten and threatened with death; some social drinking – wine with dinner; death is a central component to the storyline, as we learn of the grandfather’s death, and the lead’s father had also died years before in a plane crash; a little girl suffers from leukemia and dies from the disease; it is well handled, her death a poignant element to the narrative, but the death may be too disturbing for little kids).

Running Time: 118 min.
Intended Audience: Teens and adults