There is Hope
Although at the end of this movie, there is hope and expectation that the two leads, Brennan Eliot and Nikki Deloach will have a future together, this is not a romance. There is not even a kiss at the end. Good call. It is about how grieving people start healing and find a path forward out of darkness. When we first see Nikki she is struggling in her artist studio. She is very sad and has lost love for her art and inspiration. It has been two years since her beloved husband and creative partner died and she is still struggling. The story is told partially in flashbacks and we learn that she and her husband were committed Christians. When her good friend and manager reminds her of her annual Christmas art exhibition that she skipped last year due to her grief she knows she has to produce this year. She is finally persuaded to go to a grief support group at her old church. But as soon as they bow their heads in prayer, she gets up and leaves. Nikki Deloach was fantastic in this. You can feel her every emotion with every twitch, blink, gesture, and look. She finally tries again and her journey begins in earnest. Brennan Eliot as the kind-hearted leader of the group who is not as together as he seems is also excellent. All of the members’ stories are told and well integrated into the central plot in a very balanced and smooth way. They are all very involving, if not as heartbreaking as Nikki’s. We wonder why Brennan, who has also lost someone, does not open up and share along with the others.
We know from the flashbacks about her and her late husband’s strong Christian faith and mutual love. When she finally shares her story with the group, we learn her husband died from a brain tumor. While he was in the hospital, she was strong. It is she who comforts the others. When she tells the doctors that she knows he will be OK because she has been praying for him along with her whole community, it is heartbreaking. You can hear the calm confidence in her voice, but see the slight worry and panic in her eyes. When her husband dies, despite her prayers, she loses her faith and is full of rage.
I won’t detail her path back to believing in God and prayer, but it seemed very authentic. I will say that it involves sharing and helping others. This could be called a Christian movie, but though unapologetic, it is not heavy-handed. Unlike the Candace Cameron Bure movie on GAF (which I couldn’t resist checking out.) I didn’t feel like I was being sold to or taught at. It just seemed like this is the personal story of one woman’s grief and how her love of painting and her faith was restored. Take from it what you will.