In a small town going through tough economic times, business owner Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) struggles between his desire for financial success and the responsibility of funding the annual Christmas pageant. Desperate business decisions ruin his popularity and angry employees seek their revenge. When Matthew meets Clarence (Isaac Ryan Brown), a joyful boy who believes in miracles, he must make a choice: do what’s best for himself or give faith a chance by opening his heart to help his community. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “There are many holiday films that attempt to show you a story of faith, or hope or maybe just positivity. Believe tries to tackle all those things in a fantastic and entertaining holiday adventure.”
Watch his full review below and be sure to watch his cast & crew interviews as well:
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
There are many holiday films that attempt to show you a story of faith, or hope or maybe just positivity. Believe tries to tackle all those things in a fantastic and entertaining holiday adventure.
Believe begins showing Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn), a business owner in a small town, going through financial trouble. Despite owning a business, he also has had the responsibility of hosting the famous local Christmas Pageant every year. Sadly, this year, his company has not been doing well and is losing money. When he tries to plead to the townspeople he cannot do it, he is accused of being greedy. The entire town hates him and it is up to him to save his business and attempt to save the spirit of Christmas in a poverty-stricken town.
Believe perfectly achieves its message – never lose hope and always believe in a better tomorrow. The story clearly represents that. The cinematography is unique and beautiful in many scenes, from slow motion of falling snowflakes, to unique close ups and first person prospective. The actors, for the most part, play their emotions well and make the story feel dramatic. One character falls a bit short. Clarence (Isaac Ryan Brown) often feels out of place in some scenes, almost as if included for comedic effect or to help solidify the message. This is not because of bad acting. Isaac Ryan Brown plays Clarence as an excited and positive kid perfectly. The major problem is the interactions and his role in the story. Throughout the whole story, it feels like Clarence and Matthew have separate adventures and goals of being hopeful and faithful. This does not integrate well and makes for awkward scenes. Another major issue is that the film is too long at 2 hours. It would benefit from some judicious editing as there are many scenes that had no purpose and add to the length, making the story feel stretched.
My favorite scene is when Matthew gets mugged and his car is set on fire. The cinematography of this scene is great with close ups of Matthew as his car is on fire and snowflakes slowly falling in the background. The entire time, the camera is shaking and distorted as if the viewer is experiencing some sort of head injury along with Matthew. I loved this because it gives you both a third person view of Matthew and a first person feeling of what he is experiencing.
There are very few with some mild violence and some dramatic scenes so I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. I also give it 3.5 out of 5 stars because, despite it having an issue with one character and the story, it has a strong moral, beautiful cinematography and fantastic acting. It opens in theaters on December 2, 2016 so, go check it out.
Credit: KIDS FIRST!