Enjoyable, worthwhile, family movie

Movie (DVD) Review by Andre Viljoen

Director: Terry Ingram
Genre: Drama
Distributed by Christian Art Media

The Woodcarver tells the story of a troubled teenager, Matthew Stevenson (Dakota Daulby), who makes some bad choices when his parents’ marriage breaks up. As part of the disciplinary consequences of an outburst of vandalism he ends up assisting an elderly, widower and woodcarver, Ernest (John Ratzenberger).

Ratzenberger is convincing, and indeed a pleasure to behold, as a man who has gained Godly wisdom, patience and character through trials, failures, deep losses and a loving marriage. A mutually life-changing bond develops between Matthew and Ernest, and in one of the pivotal moments of the film the boy accepts his elderly mentor’s challenge to ask himself ‘what would Jesus do?’ before taking any decisive action. The relationship clearly brings some healing and new purpose into the older man’s life that has been on hold since his wife died of cancer.

Faced with a daunting woodcarving deadline for a church repair job, Ernest models faithful perseverance against all odds, even when his work is sabotaged by an arsonist. His positive example and influence spreads to Matthews parents Rita and Jack, who in turn are challenged to do the right thing even when it is costly.

The character casting, acting, and script that includes humour and intrigue, are all very good and credible, adding up to a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting family movie experience. The DVD is available at Christian bookshops and online.

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