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(2004), NR -- ... warmth, courage, love and energy with meaning and heart ...
Production (CA):Garden City Pictures http://www.gardencitypictures.com
Distribution (CA): Willowcreek Marketing and Distribution
Director(s): Colin Chilvers
Producer(s): Colin Chilvers, Steve Hutchings, Byron Jones
Written by/Screenplay: John Patus
Cinematography/Camera: Perci Young
Music: Millenium Music
Film Editing: Steve Hutchings
Casting: Karen Hazzard CDC
Production Design: Jennifer Carroll
Viewed on New Market Films Screener DVD
With a final score of 87, Home Beyond the Sun earned a final score that placed it squarely at the low end of the scoring range earned by G-rated films (100 to 87 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. A "hardcore" G but a G nonetheless. The most invasive programming was found in Wanton Violence/Crime and Impudence/Hate as would be expected of such a theme of rescuing orphans from anti-Christian China by a Christian woman. A gunfire killing of a mother carrying her newborn daughter and brutality to and involving children were the strongest elements.
I am going to break with my own policy and offer some subjective commentary about Home Beyond the Sun, leaving the raw objectivity to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. This time.
To start, the title Home Beyond the Sun has real meaning to the story. It is not some cute cliche to try to shape or guide the story. I will not explain how in case you decide that Home Beyond the Sun is fit for your family, but 8 year old Chinese orphan Chu Lee (Molly Sayers) truly found her home beyond the sun.
By the high quality of and talents in this film, it is difficult to say whether Home Beyond the Sun was victimized by painful budgetary restraints which unfortunately frequent financially strapped Christian film productions. Though its surface might suggest at a couple points as a smidgen less able to afford the high wattage performances of Hollywood megabuck productions, its story and message are among the most powerful ever put to celluloid. Few of the nearly 900 films I have seen have packed as much warmth, courage, love and energy with meaning and heart into 92 minutes.
Home Beyond the Sun is a well crafted and intelligent work, seamlessly weaving plot, prop and character into a cinematic fabric of silken mesh, perfect for dabbing the tears likely to fall. Indeed, though I have seen nearly 900 films in all manner of genre and am probably one of the hardest men on the planet, this work of art had lacrimal dew dripping off my chin more than once. But then, Home Beyond the Sun is a film that touches close to home for me. It is a film about adoption. My wife and I have given 24-7 care to 29 foster children over 12 years and adopted seven of them and are fixing to adopt two more (one of them tomorrow, July 23, 2004). So, needless to say, this film touched my heart deeply. And unless your heart is as cold as the arctic ice cap Home Beyond the Sun is as likely to touch your heart just as deeply as it touched mine.
China. Over 1.5 billion people. Over 110,000 of them orphans, most being the victims of the government itself. A woman has to have a license to get pregnant in China. One would think that after a couple thousand years China would know that a woman can get pregnant with or without the precious license. Unfortunately, the only recourse the unlicensed mother had consisted of two choices. Neither of them good. Life in an orphanage maybe the lesser of the two evils. Chu Lee is a bitter manifestation of that governmental monstrosity.
Chu Lee's mother was shot and killed for being Christian while she fled carrying Chu Lee. The first message in this story of God's power and grace is given here. It was the illegal Bible the mother placed in the bundle with Chu Lee that saved Chu Lee's life by stopping the bullet after it passed though her mother, leaving its sting of death in the mother. God's Word was truly a shield for the infant Chu Lee. Chu Lee was left at the doorstep of the close-by Menguin Orphanage for Girls.
Chu Lee's mother was killed because she became Christian. Now there is an item of reality to share with you for a moment. April 27, 2003: http://www.rlhymersjr.com/Online_Sermons/04-27-03PM_BewareOfMen.html. In the twentieth century, Communists persecuted Christians horribly. During the height of Communism, an average of 330,000 Christians were killed every year (Foxe's Book of Martyrs, op. cit., p. 326). Although there are still a few Communist countries, like Cuba and China, where Christians are persecuted and tortured, it is Muslim countries that are responsible for killing the most Christians today. Between 155,000 and 159,000 Christians are currently being killed throughout the world each year - simply for being Christians. Just do a web search on "Christians killed" and you will get a perspective of the issue.
While awaiting a meeting with the headmaster of the Boy's Academy of Beijing to begin teaching the boys English, American Bible College student, Jenna Wilton (Melyssa Ade) spied Chu Lee as she bounced along with a string of other little girls led by the loving matron of the Menguin Orphanage for Girls, Mei Ming (Mung-Ling Tusi). A note on "Mei-Ming": in Chinese it means No-Name. That name was given to this part in tribute to an 18 month old Chinese orphan girl with no name left in a "dying room" for ten days. With no medications to treat an illness she developed, the staff simply put her in the room and closed the door. No food, no water, no care of any kind. Ten days. Alone. Starving to death. She died four days after being found by the production crew for the film Dying Rooms. [Matt. 18:10]
From 8:00 AM to Noon, Jenna taught the boys. After that, Jenna was free to experience China. One afternoon Jenna's attention was quickly drawn again to the train of eight little Chinese girls of the Menguin Orphanage, reminiscent of the train of little girls in the MacDonald's(TM) "waddle-waddle, quack-quack" commercial of long ago except for no yellow raincoats. (By the way, Jenna and Chu Lee do munch on MacDonoald's fries in the show). Chu Lee, at the end of the train of little girls, was strangely attracted to Jenna and Jenna to she.
As days went by, the bond between Jenna and Chu Lee grew stronger and deeper. Realizing that since Chu Lee was over the "adoptable age," Jenna set into motion the wheels to adopt Chu Lee. [Matt. 10:42] Throughout all the proceedings, Jenna is badgered repeatedly to keep her mouth shut about the US, its government, its policies ... and Christianity. [Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16]
There is so much to this story but to share it all with you would spoil your opportunity to experience the power of this film. Let me end the Summary/Commentary with a note about the two items of pregnancy by immoral sex (the actual acts are not shown). Yes, it is a "sermon."
All of God's Word about sexual intimacy may be neatly summed up as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage is sinful: that a sexual relationship between husband and wife is beautiful and proper But any attempt to minimize violation of that admonition is reactionary to a wrongdoing. Later in the show, Jenna's biological mother told us that while she and Jenna's father were in college they came together and Jenna was the result (as if to say if one goes to college immoral sex is inevitable). Jenna's mother further claimed their inability to care for a baby. Given the option of convenience murder by abortion, they chose not to kill Jenna but rather to give her up for adoption. If given only the choice of whether to kill the baby or give it up for adoption, giving Jenna up for adoption is truly the best one. But such a choice would not have become necessary had her parents honored God's Word about immoral sex. Jenna's mother further admitted that giving Jenna up for adoption was biggest mistake they ever made. While indeed it is best to give up a child for adoption rather than aborting the child, to say that decision is a big mistake is making the criminal the victim. To have immoral sex was the biggest "mistake." And, to put the proper point on the matters of "mistake", having immoral sex was not a mistake but was instead a matter of poor choice. Every non-autonomic movement of the human body is a matter of choice -- for which we are accountable. Mistakes are like hitting the wrong key on a keyboard where there is certainly no intent to do wrong. But to have immoral sex is in every way a matter of choice. [1Ths. 4:1-5]
Please inspect the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide, in spite of my subjective commentary about it, whether this film is fit or is not fit for your family. Remember that I am not judging whether these behaviors should be in a film about such behaviors. I am telling you about them so you can be in a better position to make an informed decision whether this film and other films are fit for your family. And I share with you God's Word about such behaviors.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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