Movie Review: I Can Only Imagine

Most of us go to the movies to recognize ourselves in other people, to temporarily escape our own reality and perhaps to learn something about the world we never knew. The new movie “I Can Only Imagine” achieves all of these things in a short two hours.

I Can Only Imagine is about the real life story of Christian singer Bart Milard who was the child of an abusive father. Bart’s father is played by Dennis Quaid – who was on a quest to ruin the life of his young son – because he is so miserable with his own life, his bad luck and the money he will never have. If I am miserable then my wife will be miserable and so will my kids — is a common experience of too many children in the world, including me. Bad luck in life brings other people along for the ride and that is the tragedy that is the guiding force in the life of Bart Millard. There are many similarities in this movie to the film “Fences” that was released in December 2017, but the difference in this film is that this is a try story.

How such a bad childhood leads Bart into the world of Christian singing and then writing the #1 selling Christian song of all time “I Can Only Imagine” (see video below) is a very well told story and an example of excellent screenwriting that held my attention the entire two hours. The latter part of this story shows how difficult it is to rent a bus and go on the road with your friends trying to make money performing music in the deep south in the 1990’s. Bart’s show business life choice is a crap shoot that few of us are ever lucky enough to succeed at.

If your 30 years old and already know that you are going nowhere in you’re career and will never have any money are so unhappy, drunk and miserable that you take out your bad life on your child, then you should never be allowed to have a child in the first place. Having a child is first and foremost about financial security and removing that from the equation of parenthood means that you do not get to be parent especially if along the way you make child’s life as miserable as yours. When you are a child, as I have said so often in this blog, you have no choice, no options, no hope, you are going along for the ride.

This movie stars newcomer J. Michael Finley who does an outstanding job in his role as Bart Millard. 91 year old actress Cloris Leachman also has a small a role in this film – still acting at her age and still an excellent actress.

I thought this movie was very well done and it receives my highest recommendation.