Special Review for TOS Magazine by Terri Camp, Ignite the Fire
"I greatly appreciate the heart of a homeschool dad who willingly lays everything on the line to create a masterpiece like this." -- Terri Camp
Our family enjoys having "family movie night." Our greatest struggle however isn't finding a seat in the living room. Our greatest struggle is finding quality movies that we can all watch and not feel like some children shouldn't be in the room or that the older children will get easily bored by all the singing vegetables.
My challenge has been met by a new movie called, Mysterious Ways: It's How God Works. Mysterious Ways is available in DVD format, so we all crowded into the office to watch it on one of our computers. Every person in the house enjoyed the movie immensely. They even replayed some scenes so they could laugh again at the same scene. That's a true test in our house of the quality of a movie!
Some of the comments made by the children were, "Wow! This movie is great! Can we watch it again?" and "It's neat to watch a movie about a homeschooling family!" and even, "You're not going to make us eat frog legs, are you Mom?" My son John commented, "I loved the comedy parts of the movie. It was quite clever."
I loved that the project answered a lot of the questions people have about homeschooling, not by simply stating the questions, but by using the questions in an interactive way as the "Mom" explains to the "Dad" that she has been researching the possibility of homeschooling their son who has been having trouble in school because of his religious convictions. When a social worker comes knocking on the door, the drama intensifies as the family makes a decision that affects their lives permanently.
The back cover of the DVD states that there is no suggestive themes and this is absolutely correct. The director even chose not to show girls in suggestive clothing, even though that was an area that concerned the movie family. Because they were working with a visual medium, they would have had to show a girl in suggestive clothing, and they felt it was wrong to do that. I greatly appreciate the heart of a homeschool dad who willingly lays everything on the line to create a masterpiece like this.
If I were a "thumbs up" kind of movie reviewer, Mysterious Ways would definitely get twenty thumbs up at our house!
Another great aspect of the movie is the additional homeschool opportunities. On the DVD, there is a director's commentary. This is the movie in its entirety with comments by the director. These comments range from lighting comments, to frustrations that occurred in the process of making the movie. You could easily give your child credit for watching this portion of the DVD. Featured on their website, www.MysteriousWaysTheMovie.com, they will be adding additional questions for homeschooled children to answer.
My first question before watching the movie was if it would have multi-play appeal. Basically, if I'm going to spend $20 for a movie, I want my children to watch it enough times to make me feel like it was worth the money. After watching the movie, I knew that it would quickly become a family favorite. The extra homeschool materials are a real bonus!
The film is written, produced, and directed by Manny Edwards. He also stars as the dad in the movie. Manny is a homeschool father of three boys. Please see my full review on the TOS website.
-- Product Review by: Terri Camp, Ignite the Fire
Here's another Mysterious Ways: It's How God Works review!
"A movie about a homeschooling family? REALLY?!"
This was my family's reaction when we received our DVD copy of Mysterious Ways. This was something that we had never seen before! Everyone rushed to crowd around the television as the movie began. From the very beginning, we were all, shall I say, "hooked." There was NO talking, NO fidgeting - we were LOST in the moment, living alongside the Harper family as if we were experiencing the same situations ourselves.
The basic premise of Mysterious Ways is that God "works all things to the good of those who love him" (Rom 8:28) and how He orchestrates that through various circumstances in this family's life. It begins with their middle-school-aged son Buddy, who dares to stand up for his faith against his teacher, and what follows is a terrifying (and unfortunately, BELIEVABLE) series of events with school officials, Social Services, and the local police.
There is so much more to say about this film. My husband appreciated the back cover, which explicitly stated in bold letters: "NO VIOLENCE, PROFANITY, NUDITY OR SUGGESTIVE THEMES." Where can you get such bold reassurance these days? We were also impressed with the quality of the production. The music was great, and the acting was well above our expectations. We laughed and shuddered and cried right on cue! It is amazing to think that homeschooling father Manny Edwards did this on a "budget."
In addition to all of these points, there are some special features not often found with other DVDs: a 20 minute Film School video, Director's Commentary track, and a Home School project, complete with instructions and discussion questions! What more could any parent want?
We have sung the praises of this film to anyone who will listen. Having heard all about it from a certain enthusiastic little boy, we are already planning to invite Grandma over for another movie night - as soon as I get it back from my friend who could not wait to show her family, that is. To sum up our overall impression of "Mysterious Ways," I think our nine-year-old son said it best when he said "It is STUPENDOUS!"