Sunday, August 26, 2007

Movie Review: The Ultimate Gift




When his billionaire grandfather Red Stevens (James Garner) dies, Jason (Drew Fuller) anticipates a large inheritance. Instead, he discovers that Red has devised a crash course on life. A series of tasks meant to transform Jason from a hedonistic, self-centered brat into a compassionate, loving man are included in the videotaped will, but whether that’s the gift or there’s a fortune at the end of the rainbow is something Jason will just have to wait to find out.

First, he’s sent to Texas to do hard manual labor on the ranch of one of Red’s old pals (Brian Dennehey). Then his trust fund is cut off and he’s thrown into the streets where he battles a bum for a park bench and eventually makes friends with a young girl--dying of leukemia--named Emily (Abigail Breslin). A romance develops with Emily’s struggling single mom (Ali Hills). Unfortunately, their romance is interrupted by another task that leads Jason to Costa Rica, where he winds up hostage to some drug-running thugs. Bill Cobbs and Lee Meriwether are the attorneys who monitor Jason’s progress and determine whether or not he has met the demands of each task.

This is an excellent movie with a straightforward spiritual message that will tug at your heartstrings. There is a wonderful pro-life message included in this values - oriented film which is an added treat. The acting was well done and the characters seemed more like real people than the bizarre, phony, grossly immoral characters that you see in many Hollywood films. There was an authenticity and a natural charm that radiated from the actors, although the child actress Abigail Breslin seemed a little overbearing at times. Garner, Denehey, Meriwether, and Cobbs were alight with sincerity, compassion, and nobility. This is a film I could watch again and again. It was a tear-jerker, but it was also humorous at times, and was very uplifting. It should make the viewer analyze and re-think his/her own spirituality and capacity to love.

It is rated PG and is suitable for adolescents and adults.

My rating: A

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