Movie Review: Walking Across EgyptQuick Plot Summary: Set in the southern United States, a troubled teen is befriended by an elderly Christian woman who puts her faith into practice in tangible ways.
Suggested Ages: Original version 16+, Edited version 9+
So, this movie isn't for everyone, but I consider it a truly great movie. Right about now, you're probably thinking "What's this movie? I've never heard of it!" This movie is my #1 choice for the "surprisingly great movie that nobody seems to have ever seen or heard of" category. If you want to see a great movie that slipped "under the radar", this is one to see! Though a lower-budget production, it has some reasonable acting and overall was well done. Oh and just FYI, despite the title, this movie really has nothing to do with literal Egypt.
This movie shows a "simple" elderly woman that heard what the Bible said about something (that her "religious" pastor preached on) and decided to take it at face value and actually put it into practice (imagine THAT!). Later on, we even see the pastor that preached on it and fellow congregants get upset because she did so (which sadly doesn't seem too far from what might really happen at some churches). Besides the excellent message of putting your faith into practice by actively LOVING (and then seeing all the "religious" people getting up in arms about it!), the result of that love in helping to change old ways and "break through" to a hardened person is present, as is one of not just sitting around waiting to die as an elderly person. This is GREAT stuff!
There are two versions of this movie out there: the original and a family-friendly edited version (put out by "Feature Films for Families"). The original has some bad language - mostly of the milder variety though there are a few briefly uncomfortable scenes with sexual references (but no sexual situations). While I generally very much dislike movies with cursing and can't say I liked the language, it was generally within the context of the "hardened" boy and the language improves as things go along. In some ways, it actually could be argued that some of it adds to the story and helps deepen the impact of the message of the movie, which is something you can't say about 99% of the bad language in most movies. As mentioned though, there also exists a family-friendly edited version. The edited version eliminates ALL the bad language and also makes several other changes including eliminating a major (and funny) scene involving the presence of a gun, and shortening fight, smoking, and various other scenes. All told it's about 10 minutes shorter than the original.
I'm honestly kind of torn which I prefer. The original is a bit more realistic, which given the fact that a central part of the movie is the effect that love has on a "hardened" youth, does help hammer that in better. By the edited version removing the language, and some of the smoking/violence-related stuff of the youth, the transformation that you see occur doesn't pack as much of a punch in my opinion. And the removal of what I consider an important scene involving a gun was a shame in my opinion - it, along with a few other removed scenes, I felt helped the movie more than it hurt it. On the other hand, if you really just want to see a sweet story without having your ears assaulted with any bad language and/or want to let kids see this movie too, then the edited version is the way to go. My ideal version of this movie would be a cross between the original and the edited. There's definitely a few lines and some bad words I would remove, but generally I would leave the rest alone. Although, as mentioned, I do not generally support bad language in movies, in this case, at least in regards to the language that the kid uses, it is actually called out as bad by the woman and as he learns from her and receives her love, his language improves. So it actually leaves the viewer mostly in a state where they generally don't see the language as cool, but rather something to be avoided. By the way, most of the other vices we see the kid doing (smoking, stealing, carrying a gun, fighting, etc.) are also in some way rebuked and are not glorified as behavior to look up to.
As for appropriate ages, I generally would say 16 and up for the original, and 9 and up for the edited. Be advised this is a slower-paced, character-driven film - you will not be seeing things blowing up or lots of action (and the little action/intensity there is, is mostly removed in the edited version). If you watch as a group (as a family or a church group), some good follow-up discussion could be really helpful. There are some great messages in this movie worthy of discussion. This is one movie that really could even be a great one for church small groups (of a bold church that is...) to watch and discuss.
Reviewed by Christopher Long,