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The story behind the song
Posted in Culture
“I Can Only Imagine” is one of several Christian films currently showing in Australian cinemas. Bindy Taylor went to see the film and offers her insights and opinions in the following review.
When an estranged son reunites with his born-again Christian Father who has terminal cancer, you know will need to have tissues handy.
Whilst the real-life story behind the new film I Can Only Imagine does reek of an American Idol-style ‘cleaner turned superstar’ type of storyline, its Christian undertones and Christian music performances set it apart from the typical ‘zero to hero’ movie.
The film I Can Only Imagine is based on the popular Christian song of the same name. This song, performed by Christian band MercyMe, took musician Bart Millard only minutes to write, but was the culmination of a lifetime of lived experiences.
Bart (portrayed in the film by John Michael Finely) found God at a young age, and it was his faith that got him through some of his darkest moments of his life. He was raised by an abusive father; his mother left the family home while he was young, unable to bear the abuse any longer. Bart did the same as soon as he was old enough, fleeing home to join MercyMe on tour across America.
In portraying Bart in the film, Finley does an impressive job of convincing viewers that he really is a talented artist. The movie has some quality musical moments, and Finley’s singing is first rate. Dennis Quaid is equally convincing as Bart’s father, Arthur Millard.
I Can Only Imagine has some special moments centred on forgiveness, healing and redemption. These moments are woven throughout the movie, as viewers follow the relationship between Bart and his father. Some of these moments are also present in Bart’s relationship with his childhood sweetheart, which demonstrate the necessity of humility and forgiveness.
Whilst Jesus is central throughout the entirety of the film, the ending really brings Jesus into focus, providing hope and encouragement to all those watching.
Even though the storyline is built upon the Hollywood cliché of chasing your dreams, I Can Only Imagine also provides a powerful reminder that God is able to change people and that it is never too late for people to know the love of Christ.
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