This week I attended a screening of the movie, The Identical. Produced by City of Peace Films, a company that boasts a framework where music, films, and video with "redeeming value" can be developed, The Identical will hit theaters September 5th. And you do not want to miss it!
The story is about identical twin brothers (played by Blake Rayne) born into poverty during the Great Depression. Their parents, (Brian Geraghty and Amanda Crew) out of work, cannot afford to feed and care for the infants. Their dad, after hearing a preacher (Ray Liotta) talk about how his wife (Ashley Judd) has suffered another miscarriage, and how it's better to give than to receive, makes the painstaking decision to let the preacher and his wife adopt one of the boys.
One of the twins becomes the famous rock and roll star, Drexel Hemsley. The twin adopted by the preacher, Ryan Wade, shares his brother's passion for music, but spends his time trying to please his father by following in his footsteps on the path to ministry.
Ryan, after several years, finds his path and follows his dreams to find success and happiness doing what he loves, and attains peace with his family at the same time.
The movie has a great story line (my little synopsis doesn't do it justice.) Even if there was nothing else to recommend this film, it's an entertaining movie to be sure. I don't think anyone would walk away disappointed. But there's so much more to it!
Not only is there a great story, but it's told very well. I love how the movie goes from the 1930s to the 1970s. They do a great job of representing the different eras with attention to detail from the way the characters dress, talk, and think, to the cars, and furniture and decorations. I enjoyed seeing how things changed through the years.
The movie is also well-cast. Newcomer, Blake Rayne plays Ryan Wade/Drexel Hemsley. He's got this whole 'Elvis thing' going on. Ryan is a really likeable character. He's just someone you want to be friends with. Ray Liotta does great job as Reece Wade. I can just picture the deadpan look he gives as his young son, trying to recite a Bible verse in church, breaks out into song and sings the verse because that's how he memorized it - as a song. The whole theater laughed aloud at that part (and several others.) Ashley Judd is perfect as Ryan's devoted mother. Seth Green provides comic relief as Ryan's best friend, Dino. Another laugh aloud part is when the cops bust Dino for taking his dad's car and present him with the option of going to jail or going home to his dad. The offier follows it up with, "I've talked to your dad. I recommend jail." Joe Pantoliano and Erin Cottrell round out the cast of relatable, likeable characters.
The soundtrack is awesome! It makes you want to jump up and sing along and dance in the aisle. And I don't dance. Like ever. I look like I'm swatting at invisible bees and having a seizure when I try. But I digress. That Blake Rayne has a voice! You can actually listen to some of the music from The Identical HERE.
What runs throughout the movie is the theme of following your dreams. I want to say it's a Christian movie, but it isn't so much Christ-centered as it is God-centered. There are numerous mentions of the Jews in the movie. The twin boys are half Jewish, Reece Wade lights a menorah for Isreal during the war, Reece preaches to his congregation, "If we love God, then we must love what God loves, and God loves his chosen people," and both twins wear necklaces with the Hebrew symbol chai. But honestly, even if you aren't religious at all, you'll still be able to appreciate the concept of following your dreams, family dynamics, and the struggle to do the right thing, be happy, and make others happy as well. Of course, the deeper meaning is: If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! When I left the theater, I stopped to talk to the folks hosting the screening. "I loved the movie, but you really should warn people that it's a crying movie! I didn't bring tissues. My sleeve is covered in snot now." She took a step back and gave me a horrified expression. Maybe I shouldn't tell people that I just wiped about 20 ounces of snot on my clothing, but they should warn people! So, here's my warning to you - it's a crying movie. There are several places where you'll laugh, but you'll cry too. Unless you have a cold, dead heart, you can't help but be touched by the story and the acting. But it's okay because you'll leave the theater smiling (albeit possibly covered in mucus) because it's a heartwarming, feel-good story with a happy ending, and who doesn't love that?
I'll leave you with this trailer. Enjoy!