Idol Chatter

Filmmaker Bradley Dorsey looks more like he should be helping you find a movie down at the video store than making one himself. The 29-year-old Texan, who directed, co-wrote and co-produced the recently released, “A Greater Yes: The Story of Amy Newhouse,” also plays the teenaged boyfriend of the title character. He’s so convincing as an impetuous 16-year-old that it’s difficult to imagine him dealing with the subtle theological issues his movie raises.Amy Newhouse, a real-life teen from Pampa, Texas, was already on her way to a life of Christian mission work when, shortly after returning from a trip to Africa, she learned she had developed cancer. Amy’s brave, and faithful, fight against the disease inspired first the kids in the prayer group she had founded at her high school, then people all across her home state and beyond.Dorsey’s movie focuses tightly on the ups and downs of Amy’s medical battle, making the most of Anne Underwood, who plays Amy as a small-town girl with the passionate practicality that adorns missionary souls. Amy’s unselfish struggle to keep her family’s and friends’ hope alive after each somber discussion with her doctors gives power to her belief that her mangled life still has a purpose in God’s eyes.Dorsey’s view seems to be that, whatever supernatural forces are at work in prayer, it’s effects need only be earthly, reasonable and palpable to make them real. The film’s strength is the modesty of this vision.There is, unfortunately, much else that is modest about this production. Dorsey’s script doesn’t carry half the freight his emotional story demands. We get little sense of place from his direction. His lead actors, if they were trained at all, have forgotten everything they were taught about enunciation while minor characters barely register as people. Amy’s doctors are so uninformatively drab in delivering her their bad news that they might have walked right out of a nightmare of Obamacare.Technique, however, can be learned, or hired. Less freely available in Christian Hollywood is the sincere inquiry into godly questions that Bradley Dorsey exhibits with this creditable effort.

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