How ironic – that just a few days after the Department of Homeland Security releases a report to law enforcement agencies branding abortion opponents, advocates of constitutional limitation of government power, soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and other U.S. citizens as “rightwing extremists” and potential domestic terrorists; and – on Tax Day – April 15, 2009 – a day of nationwide “tea parties” protesting the current “bailouts” that will further enslave in debt generations of U.S. citizens to come; that I found myself inside one of ninety-four theaters nationwide showing “The Widow’s Might,” an award-winning movie produced by the nineteen-year-old Texan John Moore, his friends, and their families, that depicts a widowed farm owner facing the loss of her home and land due to run-away property taxes.
“The Widow’s Might” earlier this year won the US$105 thousand “Best of Festival” prize, and the “Audience Choice” award at the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, and on April 14, 2009, opened in ninety-four theaters including the Colonial 12 Theaters in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where as I write this article I am on a spring break vacation with my family. Carmike Theaters and Dalton Pictures are bringing “The Widow’s Might” and a series of other independently-produced films to theaters for the very reasonable ticket price of US$5.00.
How does one classify “The Widow’s Might” as to its film genre? Well, it is a western musical comedy – actually the story of the making of a western musical comedy as a means of publicizing the plight of a widow who’s property is desired by local developers and on which its tax assessment has risen above the widow’s ability to pay. The widow’s neighbors and friends band together to help her keep her home, and to move their community away from apathy and indifference and toward values best characterized by the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40). The young filmmakers skillfully guide the audience back and forth through and into the subplots of the filmmaking, the community and the widow’s plight, and the western musical comedy being crafted by the young filmmakers.
The most outstanding aspects of “The Widow’s Might” include the wonderful camera work that captured the incredible beauty of rural Texas, its wildflowers, and its meadows. Outdoor close-ups picture subjects surrounded by faded and blurred natural colors worthy of a Monet painting. Close-ups of individual characters speaking or singing enhanced the viewer’s intimacy with the character to a sometimes almost uncomfortable degree. The variety of camera technique used throughout the movie greatly enhanced the story without being intrusive.
“The Widow’s Might” musical score and songwriting are extraordinary. Composers Willem Van Wyk and David Gilchrist’s creative soundtrack reminds me of Aaron Copeland at his finest, and while the melodies are not as striking and memorable as Jerome Moross’ soundtrack to the 1960 western “The Big Country,” Van Wyk and Gilchrist’s music is just as inherent to the storyline, indispensible to the overall movie, and performed with the same professional quality. The singing cowboy and widow in the western musical comedy performed thoughtfully and with excellent musicianship, though the lip-syncs were sometimes slightly out of sync with the studio-recorded performances.
The only more-than-slightly noticeable drawback to the film is that a few of the segues between scenes were a bit too abrupt, or took a few seconds for the viewer to absorb where you were being directed in the overall story.
Please go see “The Widow’s Might,” or order the DVD starting in July 2009 from www.widowsmightthemovie.com. You will find a delightful, entertaining, imaginative, God-affirming, family-affirming movie unlike anything else you have ever seen. With teenagers like John Moore and his friends growing up in the Lone Star State, there is much hope for Texas and for the rest of our nation. Bravo to these fine young filmmakers.
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