Thursday, January 14, 2016

Movie Review of Just Let Go & Meridian Reviewed My Book!

I was so excited to see that Meridian Magazine reviewed my new novel, The Captive! My favorite part of the review was, ""This is a story that reads like today's headlines . . . The plot is strong and dynamic. Readers won't want to set this one down." Hooray! You can see the entire review here

And have you entered the giveaway to win a paperback copy of my new book? Just click the link at the top of the sidebar and it could be yours!

Today, I also wanted to review the new movie, Just Let Go, that stars Henry Ian Cusick. It's a true story of a man named Chris Williams who was driving to get ice cream with his pregnant wife and kids, when a drunk driver slammed into them, killing his wife, their unborn child, and two of his children. The movie is about the aftermath and what Mr. Williams and his family experience as they struggle to do what's right instead of what's expected.

This movie evoked a lot of discussion in my house. (It is rated PG-13 for the accident images and themes so I watched it with my older kids.) In the movie, the drunk who hit them is seventeen, but only a couple of months away from turning eighteen. If he is tried as an adult, he could be put away for thirty years. If he is tried as a juvenile, he would be out in three years and his record expunged. So, Chris is struggling to know what is best. He's lost so much. His son that survived has critical injuries, he is overwhelmed with grief but trying to keep it together, and medical bills just keep piling on. How this man keeps going is a miracle in itself. But what is merciful for the young man that hit them? How far does justice have to go to be satisfied?

The meat of the story is can someone whose life has been destroyed truly forgive and see the person who hurt them so deeply from another perspective? Do you bow to society's standards that demand the maximum punishment, then suing the other family for ever penny they have? I was impressed with the real and difficult struggle we witnessed as Mr. Williams decides what's right for him.  

I thought the movie was realistic and heart-wrenching, but there were light moments and inspiring moments as well. (The convenience store clerk stood out for me. "We're friends aren't we?" And there's a scene with Mr. Williams and his two surviving sons that was also really touching.) The film used a lot of flashbacks, which actually worked well and made it easier to showcase the complexity of the story while keeping it easy to follow.  There was solid local talent in the movie, but Mr. Cusick shines in bringing the emotions and subtleties to the main character. There were also some religious references, but it was kept non-denominational and not overly preachy. 

I don't know if I could emotionally survive if anything like this ever happened to me. I hope I never have to find out. But my heart was touched and I think this is a film that will stay with me for a long time.

Here's more about it and be sure to scroll down for the book trailer.

Henry Ian Cusick, Emmy Nominee, as Chris Williams in the true story "Just Let Go". After surviving a drunk driving accident that killed his pregnant wife and two kids, Chris Williams struggles to 'just let go' and forgive the young man who caused it.

As we begin the New Year, this message of forgiveness is an important reminder, that forgiveness can bring peace to your soul. “It has allowed a terrible tragedy … to be turned into, in many aspects, a tremendous blessing. That has been one of the most fascinating things to experience,” Williams said in a interview with the Deseret News. “To see the lives blessed since the crash, it has been overwhelming how many positive things have come from it.”

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