AMISH GRACE (2010)
Lifetime hit Amish Grace earned the highest rating. It attracted over four million viewers when it premiered on the Lifetime Network. Now, you may enjoy it on DVD starting September 14 when it hits the stores. It is the profound story about the power of forgiveness.
The Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania is turned upside down when a gunman shoots up the schoolhouse killing five of the girls, injuring five others, and then killing himself. Despite their tragic loss and despite the press’ criticism the community finds the grace to forgive the gunman, support his widow, and move on with their lives. Their open forgiveness baffles the rest of the community. They find it so confusing that the Amish were so easy to forgive the shooter.
Director Gregg Champion accepted the project after finding inspiration by the true story and studying the remarkable Amish lifestyle and faith. He says the lessons he wants his audience to take from the film are the same that he learned while working on the project, which is the way to deal with anger, hatred, and grief.
Champion provides several characters’ points of view whether it be a grieving mother, a confused, grieving widow, or an intrusive reporter. These characters were played by an incredible cast, says Champion. Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Tammy Blanchard are both mothers providing them invaluable insight for their roles as wives and mothers who both suffer a great loss. They played their roles effectively and passionately. You can feel the confusion and pain in all three women after the great tragedy.
The film also portrays the destructive power of anger through the point of view of the gunman, Charlie Roberts (John Churchill). He suffers severe depression after losing his baby girl at birth. He becomes so angry at God for his loss that he swears revenge upon Him through the school shooting leaving behind his wife, two sons, and baby. He killed himself without regard to their future well-being. It is clearly a selfish and evil act in all regards.
Ida Graber (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) shows a hesitation in her Amish belief in the start of the film. Her grief and anger after the great tragedy shakes her faith. As her hatred for the Roberts grows her faith weakens and it threatens her relationship with her family, friends and the Amish community. If she does not find the grace to forgive, then she could very well become the monster she hates.
“Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with lots of sharp teeth, and it will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love,” Gideon Graber teaches his confused younger daughter. “We are lucky that God understands this. He is the One that will hand out the punishment so that we don’t have to carry all this terrible hate around inside of us if we don’t want to, if we’re willing to forgive.”
Champion is very pleased and flattered that the film has received such positive responses. Many people have worked to help promote the film. He also received many emails from fans expressing how the film has touched their lives. When the DVD hits the shelves, it will hopefully touch many more lives.