Movie review: The Shack

Thursday, June 1, 2017 5:11 pm
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Amanda Viviers | 98five blogger

It was a summer I will never forget when I picked up the navy blue book with a picture of a run-down shack on the front. I had just come out of a season of deep grief with my senior pastor falling very ill and I had a list of hard questions for God, stacked up one after another.

The Shack by William P. Young unravelled me like no other book has.

Have you ever felt unsure about why bad things happen to brilliant people?

Have you ever been confronted by the reality of forgiveness and how desperately difficult it is to enact?

These are the fulcrum messages found within its pages.

Studio Canal Australia has just released the film version. With blockbuster names like Aussie actor Sam Worthington (Avatar, Hacksaw Ridge) and American actress Octavia Spencer (The Help, Hidden Figures), my husband and I walked into a Perth cinema this week, knowing we were done for.

You see grief has been our recent companion, we have both lost dear friends over the last season. Friends who were just at the beginning of their adult life. Friends who left behind devastated families and loved ones. Just as Mac sat in the midst of the ruins of loss, we too have sat unable to speak out our utter confusion at the purposes and plans of a loving God, who allows the most difficult of seasons to befall those not ready.

As the movie unfolded, the tears most definitely fell. Tears that a loving Father, God collects with every moment of healing and despair. The wrestle between our current reality and the possibility of our tomorrow was beautifully explored with a heart open to revelation and hope.

“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.” William Paul Young, The Shack

This exploration of grace, forgiveness and hope is not for the faint-hearted. Yes, it challenges our stereotypes of the role of the Trinity in our everyday lives but it beautifully asks the viewer to consider their life in view of eternity.

I found myself wanting to write to Sam Worthington, penning a letter in my mind as the film unfolded, asking him what his personal response was to a script that was so deeply confronting around forgiveness, loss and faith.

As the credits rolled at the end of the movie, we watched throngs of movie goers, wiping their eyes and deep in discussion about the difficult journey they had witnessed over the last two hours. It was the most interesting of atmospheres. To watch couples deep in discussion about the pain that life brings and the response we are all subject to at different moments in our lives.

Deep discussions.

Hearts moved with compassion.

Minds engaged in their personal response.

These things absolutely compelled me to write about the power of film and faith. Every time our faith is challenged and our lives are moved by the power of story, I believe it gives us an opportunity to engage in amazing conversations about the application of our faith in our everyday lives.

As a mother, I walked into my house after watching the film and breathed in deeply as I drew my children close.

As a wife, I slowed my response in the midst of conflict with my husband remembering the power of forgiveness and perspective.

As a daughter, I have been remembering the difficulty of my parent’s upbringing and the patterns they brought into our family.

As a follower of Christ, I am reminded to step out in trust to walk upon waters, remembering that He walks with me through my seasons of loss.

This film is deeply impacting and is worth every moment of scouting out the cinema that it is showing at this weekend. Opening up discussions around grief, loss, forgiveness and the role of an ever-present God in the midst of our darkest days.


Amanda ViviersAmanda is a writer, speaker, creative coach, wife of Charl and novice Mum to Maximus and Liberty. She’s published three books and can be found in her beach shack, writing her fourth. Her daily blog is a Christian Media & Arts Australia best digital media project award winner. Amanda is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia and is the co-founder of Kin Women; a network created to inspire women. Along with her husband, she is co-owner of surf brand, Maximus and Liberty. They manufacture surfboards, stand up paddle-boards and merchandise to fund youth surfing projects globally. Driven by a passion for social justice, Amanda loves supporting projects for children in developing countries. Teaching children to live creative lives, beyond the circumstances, is something she pursues daily. www.amandaviviers.com | Follow Amanda on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest


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