The Healing Garden is a very, very Christian movie (for better or for worse)

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Kyriana Kratter and Danny Michael Mann in The Healing Garden. Photo from the movie trailer.

I can’t tell you when you can see The healing garden. I understand the manufacturers are looking for a distributor now. But hopefully there will be one, because there is definitely an audience for a movie like this. It’s such a stereotypical Christian film as I’ve seen it in the last few years.

For those unfamiliar with the Christian film genre, faith-based films tend to follow as strict a formula as you might find in an Agatha Christie-style thriller or a schlocky teenage horror film. And while some Christian filmmakers are starting to tell bolder stories and spread their cinematic wings a bit more, many still seem to be trying to check out as many boxes of Christian films as possible.

This one checks a lot: Premature death? A couple, in fact. Faith shaken? Yeah. Old wise men? Sure. Incredible jerky? The actor was a little too likable to be very choppy, but I think he qualifies. Baptism? Sure. Miracle? Damn, is there a miracle. We really needed some sort of football team to really make this movie a spot in the Christian Movie Stereotype Hall of Fame, but you can’t have it all.

Even the poster has that kind of airbrushed Christian movie, Hallmarkish.

But being an avid reader of Agatha Christie myself, I hasten to add that there is nothing inherently wrong with stereotypical stories. It all depends on how the formula is made and who the audience is.

And for a Christian audience, the formula here works pretty well.

The film stars honest actor Danny Mann as Eddie Nichols, a former military chaplain who finds himself grappling with his faith after his wife’s death. When he moves into a new home and finds a box of abandoned Christmas decorations, he places the plastic crib on his porch.

“Your Jesus is gone! A curious neighbor yells at him.

“You can repeat it,” he said.

But he finds a new goal in a nearby wasteland. He decides to grow a garden there (his wife was a great gardener, we learn), and he is helped (naturally) by Hope, a cute little girl as a puppy (played by Kyriana Kratter) who is dealing with his own family problems. The two start gardening and Eddie begins telling Hope all the Bible stories he knows by heart and loved so much.

Of course, the whole community is changed by this little garden. Naturally, Eddie rediscovers his faith and helps others find it too. It wouldn’t be a Christian film otherwise.

But the movie has some decent writing tied to it, and it even manages to be intentionally funny. It’s nice to watch, because humor and Christian films often go together about as well as a frozen salmon cheesecake.

Oh, also: the concept of a “healing garden,” where prayers are literally planted, also strikes me as a pretty cool thing. The idea of ​​turning your fears and hurts around and watching them not only heal, but also be part of something turning into something better, strikes me as a powerful symbol – and a symbol that I could emulate in my life. own garden.

Unfortunately, the metaphorical power of the healing garden is curtailed here. Gardens, after all, take time, work and, yes, faith. It’s part of their charm and their power. There are no shortcuts, and this could be a timely message in a culture that demands almost everything instantly. This healing garden, however, loses that lesson in its own quick fix message.

It’s not a movie that will likely convince a lot of non-believers to try the faith. But if you are a Christian and want to see a sweet Christian movie, The healing garden maybe just right for you. If you are a cultural anthropologist who wants to see what a “Christian movie” looks like, this could serve your purpose as well.

For more information on the film, visit guerisongardenmovie.com.

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