I was generously invited to watch The Identical, by City of Peace Films, even though it doesn't hit theaters until September 5, 2014. Always on the lookout for movies that will be appropriate for our whole family (and not too lame for the teens & adults!), I was excited to see this movie about identical twins, separated at birth, who have incredible musical talent. One twin was raised in a poor family and the other by a preacher & his wife. The truth was supposed to be kept from them, but when tragedy strikes in a couple of different ways, the truth comes out and a real, active search for identity becomes the pressing issue.
This is a music themed movie, so the more you like the genre of music played, the more you're likely to connect with the main character. I was concerned it would be too much of an Elvis impersonator knock-off, but I was pleasantly surprised that the music is NOT an effort to recreate Elvis's music. Thank goodness- call me young, but I really don't care for Elvis's music. Nope. That's just me though! The film also didn't over-emphasize the connection between twins. I am not saying this connection isn't real, or that it isn't phenomenal, but we all know how shows can easily slip into cheesy mode when they try to recreate such things that are fascinating in real life on the big screen.
The only thing that I found a bit disappointing was the lack of the movie to redeem its portrayal of religion and the Christian lifestyle fully. The father/preacher is often shown (which we know can be accurate for some people) as overbearing, legalistic, narrow-minded and strict. As the movie wears on, he learns to accept that his son will not grow up to follow in the footsteps his father has imagined, but will take the initiative in guiding his own life direction- chasing his own "calling" as the movie often refers to it. I had hoped, that like in the movie "Grace Unplugged", the main character would not only find their own calling, but use it to glorify the Lord. There's no real indication that was the case with the all-star that grew out of such a unique family background in this movie though. He finds his own way, and does it successfully, apparently with or without God's help or involvement. It could be inferred that he was following the Lord as he pursued "his calling", but it could just as easily be inferred that he walked away from the faith as it no longer implies that he reads the Bible, attends church, prays, or sings any songs to the glory of the God Who created him and blessed him with such a beautiful voice for singing. Capitalizing on the gift without acknowledging the Giver is a pretty common thing to do nowadays, and probably makes this movie better received in non-Christian audiences.
Bottomline: Good family-friendly movie that isn't encouraging an immoral lifestyle, but doesn't encourage an intimate walk with Christ or involvement with the church either. Middle ground, mediocre, the kind we're all most comfortable with because it doesn't challenge us.