Mr. Church is a heartwarming, family movie. It stars Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson. It was written by Susan McMartin and directed by Bruce Beresford. And today it will be the subject of my review. Major spoilers.
When the film opens we see Mr. Church entering the lives of Marie and her daughter Charlie. At this time in the story the character of Mr. Church is a mysterious yet intriguing man. The fact that he has so many passions, so many hobbies’ that enrich his life make him a compelling character. I think this is where he and Charlie begin to bond.
The movie follows Britt Robertson’s character, Charlie, as she grows up and is raised by Mr. Church, a man who was employed by her mother’s deceased ex.
The movie’s central theme is the power of family. Throughout the movie we see the power that a family can have in overcoming grief, the characters are constantly smiling their way through tragic circumstances, like the death of Marie. We see the power a family can have to heal the emotional wounds, like the ones Mr. Church’s father’s abuse left on him. And we also see the power that family has to bring people together, like Charlie and Mr. Church.
Although the themes in this movie are well established, well executed and well explored, the writing isn’t exactly top notch. There are many scenes that feel forced or like they come out of nowhere, like when Mr. Church first explodes on Charlie for prying into his personal life. The conflict is a little obvious; there is no build up to it and then all of the sudden it is there. It is like the writers wanted the conflict in the movie but didn’t really know how to pull it off, so it catches you off guard.
Also, the constant narration kind of got under my skin. I understand that it is supposed to make the movie feel like a novel, but I hate being told about how a character feels in a movie, rather than being shown because that’s what movies should specialize in, they’re a visual format for telling stories.
Instead of showing the college montage I feel like they should have just done a time jump and just been done with it because the montage was terrible and it felt like they were rushing through that part of the story because they were too lazy to tell it.
But honestly the movie isn’t all bad, the score is deeply emotional and I think that it matches the emotions of the film expertly. The sound editing, as well, is quite well done. The movie at least sounds beautiful.
Also, the movie has a little touch of fairy tale. Which is kind of cool. For example, all of the towns people seem to really like and support Charlie from when she is a little girl to when she grows up. I mean, a drunkard helps her pick out her prom dress for goodness sake. But also it was interesting that that drunkard got a good character ark.
The acting in this movie is fairly good. Eddie Murphy puts in a cool, steady performance. He lets little emotion show through in dramatic scenes, which gives his character a feeling of reliability and sturdiness. Even when he is stumbling drunk and screaming obscenities into the night, it feels subtle, which pays off.
The actress who plays the 10-year-old Charlie, Natalie Coughlin, seems surprisingly mature. She delivers lines like adults and even acts just as well as some of the adults in the film, displaying mature, complex emotions.
Natascha McElhone puts in a glowing, hopeful performance as the cancer stricken mother, Marie.
It is Britt Robertson, who I confess, I am a bit disappointed in. I have liked Robertson ever since she was in the Stephen King adaptation Under The Dome but in this film she seems to be all over the place. At times her narration seems overly dramatic or artificial and not really heartfelt and any time she showed any negative emotion it felt like she was a teenager having a tantrum. All the way through the movie her performance felt a little awkward.
Mr. Church is a movie that has a lot of promise, it is well directed and fairly well acted, but it is a little rough. It is a movie that feels like its screenplay needs to be looked over a few times more. I think the filmmakers got carried away with this film a little too quickly.
That is my review of Mr. Church and I hoped you liked it. If you have any thoughts please comment down below. Thanks for reading!