Idol Chatter

baldwinclear.jpgAfter success at several film festivals this year, director/producer Dallas Jenkins second feature film (he produced “Hometown Legend” a few years back), the unconventional Christmas story, “Midnight Clear, is out on DVD this week. Based on a short story written years ago by his dad, Jerry “ Left Behind” Jenkins, the story traces the intersecting paths of several people in a small town who are in need of hope and forgiveness.

In perhaps his first respectable performance since “The Usual Suspects”, Stephen Baldwin plays a down-on-his luck father who is jobless and homeless. He is estranged from his children and his mother and he’s feeling a little desperate. His mother is lonely, in poor health, and depressed. On Christmas Eve, they each consider suicide, but a series of not-so-coincidental events their lives are changed even as they become a source of encouragement to the strangers who cross their paths.
Though not all of the intersecting plot points felt authentic to me, It would have been so easy to let “Midnight Clear” be nothing more than a cheesy Hallmark movie, but it’s not. Jenkins sidesteps heavy sentiment and cheap theology by balancing the serious issues in the movie with plenty of humor.
“Midnight Clear” is also one of those rare indie films by a Christian filmmaker that actually does do a respectable job of clearly speaking to the evangelical audience as well as remaining accessible to those who are spiritual seekers. I can easily picture church groups showing this film as a way to reflect on the small ways we can all be a bridge this season between hope and hopelessness.

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