Are these movies about people meeting Jesus in modern times worth watching?
Now, I know that depicting Jesus in movies can be a touchy subject for some people. Personally, I’m usually pretty leery of movies that feature Jesus in modern settings, since it becomes really easy to re-imagine Him. That said, “The Perfect Stranger” and its sequel “Another Perfect Stranger” put my concerns to rest. Let’s dig in, shall we?
The Perfect Stranger is about an attorney named Nikki Cominsky. She’s a career-driven lady, whose relationship with her family isn’t the best, but it could be worse. One day at work, she finds an invitation on her desk for dinner with Jesus. Thinking it’s her husband making a joke, she goes to the restaurant, only to find that she’s meeting a man who is indeed claiming to be Jesus Himself.
It’s an interesting film with an intriguing “What If” premise. It’s a simple story, and the bulk of the movie takes place in the restaurant. But it’s not boring by any stretch! The dialog is well-written, and the way Nikki and the Stranger bounce off each other is very entertaining. The acting is decent overall, but it’s stellar at the critical parts, and you’re quickly drawn into Nikki’s journey as she debates with Jesus.
They touch on such topics as:
-How other religions compare to Christianity
-Why God allows suffering
-Contradictions in the Bible
-Divorce, loss and why God allows suffering
-Hell’s existence and why people are sent there
-Creation vs. Evolution
It’s by no means an exhaustive discourse on any of these but it does provide good conversation starting points to keep in the back of your mind for future use.
Since 75% of the movie takes place in one room, it would be very easy to lose the interest of the audience. But the production team did a fantastic job with the cinematography, breaking up the monotony. It’s got some good humorous spots, and provides a moving story of a life-changing encounter with Christ.
And now… ten years later, the story continues.
We start off with Nikki’s daughter, Sarah, heading off for an interview at an art school. Let’s just say she’s got issues, not the least of which is the fact that she thinks her mother has now completely lost her mind. Why, you ask? Well, she just found out this little incident ten years ago where she claims to have met Jesus in a diner. But guess who she meets on the plane?
Despite this being the same premise as the first, I’m glad to see that it doesn’t feel like it… for the most part, but I’ll get to that. Sarah is definitely different from her mother, with different issues, different objections, and a lot more emotional baggage that is slowly revealed throughout the movie. The conversation is much more personal, and doesn’t feel like a point-for-point theological discussion like the last one.
The movie’s tagline is “The Conversation Continues…” And that leads into my one nitpick about both movies. We’re still watching two people have a conversation. It’s a concept that works great in print (both movies are based on books), but it’s hard to make it work for a movie, especially an hour and half long one. Another Perfect Stranger does keep us moving around to different places more than the first one, but we’re still just watching a conversation. A well-written, well-acted, thought-provoking conversation… but still a conversation. Don’t get me wrong. It works in both of them. It really does. But it almost doesn’t.
Oh, and one more really tiny nitpick: When they’re talking in the air, how is half the plane not able to hear them? Every time I’ve flown, you’ve got to practically shout to be heard over the engines. It’s a wonder they didn’t have all of first class butting into their conversation. But that’s a problem with all movies that have scenes on an airplane, so it’s not their fault. I just flew recently, so it kind of came to mind. Like I said, really nitpicky.
That said, these are both well done, thought provoking movies, and I highly recommend them.
The Perfect Stranger
By Kelly’s Filmworks
Feature Film, 2005
Another Perfect Stranger
By Kelly’s Filmworks
Feature Film, 2007