The 2017 Cinema In Focus winners are...
Now that the Academy Awards have been given in their chosen categories, we present our own Cinema In Focus OSCARS for the best films of 2017. Our criteria are not based on the best story, graphic representation, or most entertaining, but what story had the deepest statement of values that are spiritually uplifting or challenging.
Mully is an inspiring, true story which uses a blend of actual footage, interviews and dramatization. We walk with Mully as an abandoned street child through an amazing journey of trust and obedience until God uses him to create the most effective African, and perhaps international, children rescue ministry ever formed. Since 1995 he and his family have taken over 10,000 orphans off the streets and into the loving care of the Mully Children's Family We have to admit we expected a long advertisement for this children's rescue ministry, instead we saw the miraculous provision of God through an obedient servant in which the impossible occurs and still does so today.
We rarely know that when we are confronted with life's biggest challenges that this could be the pivotal point where our decisions make the greatest impact on others. Facing one of the greatest challenges in its history, England chose Winston Churchill to step in as Prime Minister in 1940 to lead the country in the perilous beginning of what became World War II. While Churchill may today be revered as one of England's greatest heroes, his beginning as a leader in the British Parliament was less than popular. In fact, most of the people in his own political party groaned at the thought of his assuming leadership.
Based on a 2012 novel by R.J. Palacio, the drama focuses on a family with a child whose genetic malady leaves him deformed. After twenty-seven operations, he remains a person whose appearance is far from perfect. Having been homeschooled by his mom until fifth grade, she believes that he now needs to join the world outside their home and go to school. It is this year in his life on which the film focuses.
By all accounts, this is an amazing family. August "Auggie" Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) as a fifth grader is brilliant, especially in science. But his academic skills are as much a result of his mother's complete focus as they are his innate intelligence. Isabel Pullman (Julia Roberts) had almost completed her masters' program when Auggie was born. Putting everything on hold, she has spent the last ten years caring for him and giving Auggie a chance to live a normal life.
BEST PICTURE DEPICTING SPIRITUAL REDEMPTION: "SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME"
What do you think when you see a person who is homeless? Do you assume they are somehow different from those of us who have homes? Are you afraid that they may be violent or "spread germs" or hurt you in some way? Or do you assume that they have "chosen not to work and will spend every cent they get on drugs"? Those dehumanizing thoughts allow us to either ignore them or judge them. The truth is that every human being is of infinite worth and has a unique story, the same as any of us. This truth is caught in the title and the story of Michael Carney's second film Same Kind of Different as Me.