I Can Only Imagine (2018) - Review
by Bryan Mero
I know I'm a little late to the party on this one. Better late then never, especially for this movie. Sometimes a special movie comes around and it just works. Here is a Christian themed movie that isn't over the top cheesy or pounding the gospel over your head. This is a story of hardship, desperation, heartbreak and through it all God can work all things for good.
This is the story behind the best selling song by MercyMe called "I can Only Imagine." Bart wrote the lyrics and music in a matter of 10min but the story behind the song was written by a lifetime of struggle. Bart, as a young boy, is a dreamer but those dreams are washed away by an abusive father and absent mother and circumstances that leads him into God's potential. A youth group camp starts his journey and a path that few should ever take.
This is based on a true story and it shows. People are real. They do dumb things and say the wrong things. Friendships are torn apart. Bad decisions are made. Yet, despite all of that, things can work out for good. The movie never has to tell us this. We get to see it first hand. That's the beauty of this film. You’re shown and not told. More Christian movie need to do this. People don't need a lecture...they need to see that God's love will prevail in all things...the highs and the lows.
Dennis Quaid stands out as Arthur, Bart's (J. Michael Finley) father. The former football player turned bitter and abusive is done so well you never know what Arthur is capable of. We follow Bart from a boy using his imagination to a young man just trying to please his father. J. Michael Finley does a great job as he fumbles his words around the woman he loves and tries to make things right between him and his father.
Obviously this is all about the song of the same name. I can remember watching MercyMe on the Tonight Show singing "I Can Only Imagine" and just being shocked that they would even be allowed on air declaring the name of Jesus. I remember radio stations playing it all the time. It is truly an amazing song, but the story behind it is even more powerful.
If you haven't seen it yet...don't wait, it won't be in theaters much longer. If you can't get out to see it, make sure to buy it on Blu-Ray. This type of movie needs all the support it can get. As soon as Hollywood can see that these types of movies can be inspirational...and make money...I can only pray we get more movies like this.