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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Cinema Review – The Shack

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If you think that some actions are simply unforgivable, you would be infuriated by a movie that is little more than an insipid exercise in marketing for Christianity. The timing of its release, just days after the slaughter of the innocents in Manchester, is particularly galling, for in it we are asked to ‘understand’ the murderer of a little girl. The child in question is the 8-year-old daughter of Mack (Sam Worthington), a good-guy dad in a gormless family of Bible-belt churchgoers.

She is abducted and killed while they are on a camping trip at Lake Woodchuck. Mack, consumed by hatred for the man responsible, is astounded to receive an anonymous invitation to spend a weekend at the shack where the kid’s body was found. Waiting for him in the shack is God, in the form a fat Afro-American pastry-rolling mumma (Octavia Spencer). A very groovy looking Jesus is also there (Avraham Aviv Alush – the bloke was Jewish after all) and to complete the father/son/holy spirit trinity, there is Sarayu (Sumire Matsubara who, as holy spirits go, is pleasingly on the hornbag side).

Together, they will teach Mack a thing or two about life while assuring him that his child is as happy as Larry to be where she is (in heaven, of course) and that the omnipotent God takes no responsibility for what happened to her. Mack finds it hard to swallow that his child’s horrible death was all for the best, but he thinks it’s pretty cool to walk on the water with Jesus and he can’t get enough of God’s cooking. Non-believers will scoff at this film for the tripe that it is, but the child’s gruesome death is a curiously compelling through-line that might have made for a decent crime drama.

Sadly, it’s treated as nothing more than the incident that brings Mack to the glory of God. At some point we all have to cope with loss and grief, but only a simpleton would be comforted by the platitudes spouted in this. I wanted to puke.


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1 COMMENT

  1. I read the book years ago.
    These so called critics have no idea what a good movie is. This was a terribly tragic, yet uplifting movie. I cried off and on throughout the entire movie.
    If this movie does not tug at your heartstrings, then you must be emotionally bankrupt inside, and that’s tragic within itself.
    Pull your family close and watch this together.
    ????

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