Length: 132 minutes / 2.20 hours
When I saw the trailers for this film, I had no idea what it was about. It seemed to be part magical and part depressing, never really covering what the movie’s content was. For anyone who is curious, it’s about a meeting with the Holy Trinity. Consequently, while most “Christian” films are almost cringe-worthy, this one wasn’t half bad. Of course, there are still elements of it that made me roll my eyes, but these scenes were mere bookends to a great theological discussion-starter. In fact, I would almost prefer this film without the framing, since most people would probably relate to the main character, regardless.
The trouble with the framing device used for the conversation with God is that it doesn’t feel natural. There’s a forced quality that pushes the main character into the situation where he encounters God, merely contrived so that he is near rock bottom when God appears. I will give it props for accurately portraying severe depression, but the method it uses for flashbacks leads the viewer to potentially think the interaction with God started much earlier than it did. This is also in addition to the “cheap” way to get the main character to interact with God at all. The “dream/coma” trope is overdone anyway.
With all this being said, why should you even watch this film? Well, despite its flaws, The Shack (2017) does one thing right. It does it so well that I can forgive some of the weaker elements of its presentation. There are many misconceptions about God and the Trinity that we as a society have accepted as fact. We wonder why God allows bad things to happen, while also wondering why “justice” remains out of our grasp. This film addresses these tough subjects in a way that is not only thought-provoking but profoundly convicting in its theology.
A fantastic interaction with the Holy Trinity, wrapped in some common tropes, I give The Shack 3.5 stars out of 5.