I loved this movie. I have ancestors who traveled in the Martin company and have
done a moderate amount of reading and research into the experiences of the
handcart pioneers in general and the Martin/Willie companies in particular. I
found the movie engaging, emotionally compelling and moving, and very
historically accurate (accepting the timeline blending for sake of continuity
and storyline). The production values were among the best I've seen in
"LDS Cinema." I have seldom, if ever, been as emotionally moved by a
film. I found myself not wanting to leave at the end, valuing the beautiful
music played during the credits just to process all I'd just seen and felt. I
saw the movie a half dozen times in various theaters. After most of those
screenings, the audience sat quietly (almost reverently) throughout the end
credits and music, Im guessing feeling much as I did. I felt the Spirit watching
a film in a commercial theater-something that has almost never happened before.
This film ranks right at the top for me! My sincere thanks to the film
production staff and cast. Here's to hoping for more like this one in the
My favorite by far is "Forever Strong" but some may not consider this
one an "LDS film. Ryan Little is an LDS filmmaker and this was absolutely
Enjoying Mormon cinema is akin to voting for Romney... simply because he is LDS.
Call it a "tribal bias" if you will.The biggest problem
with Mormon cinema is the painfully obvious, chronic need to moralize. The
movies are created in order to "proclaim the message" and it deprives
the movies of their richness, subtlety, and power.If people want to
pay good money to be preached to, they just get baptized, pay tithing, and
attend 3 hours of meetings each week.
Wow...the top of Mormon Cinema..that's like winning best of the worst. @Andermart - I'm not sure what you mean by "real members of the LDS
church". I think both productions were excellent depictions of the
characters they selected.
To Idaho Coug: Lets look at the scriptures and you will find many miracles
performed by Christ. One imparticular pertains to the 10 blind men that were
healed. All but one turned and thanked the Lord. The others just left.Also, Amanda Barnes Smith prayed to our Heavenly Father and was informed
to put peet moss on her wounded sons hip to heal him. She did and he was to
walk across the plains into Salt Lake years later. These are all miracles but
many forget that they are at the will of the Father.Still a woman
giving birth to a child to many is nothing today but yet in many countries it is
still a miracle the child survives.We have to understand that the
will of the Lord is paramount in all of this. Look at the Sister Missionary
recently killed in an accident in New York. Her companion survives the accident
though she is killed. Some would say it was a miracle the one survived while
others just look at it and say well the impact killed the one sister because it
was on her side. That is the only reason the other survived.
You guys are so blessed. we never get to see any of those movie? I think the
only one I heard of was in Dallas, about 4 hours from where I live. No
bookstores around us. we have to do everything by ordering. and taking a chance.
I buy family movies for my grandchildren
To CatsI stand corrected. The Director, the writers, and one of the
producers are LDS. but the Movie was Distributed by Disney, and should have been
mentioned as a prominent LDS film in this article.
I never go to the same movie twice. At least I don't remember spending real
money to see the same movie in theatres. We've been to 17 Miracles four time.
And we're thinking about going one more time at the dollar theatres. We've
already ordered the DVD in advance of its release. And we've convinced
out-of-state family to order it too. I'd have to say its near the top. (PS: you
didn't mention two of my favorites: Errand of Angels and One Good Man!)
I didn't realize that there that many mormon movies!!!! Where can I order
them?I would rather watch those any day than the stuff that is on tv. I
do like the GMC channel, there is no foul language and it is usually family
oriented moviesthat are great!! I still go to the byu channel for
discussions, and music:) (AND SOOOO MUCH MORE:) )
I loved the show and saw it twice. We all have something to learn from it, as
there were many examples of life in the various vinettes. I am very
appreciative to have such movies to go to, simply because there's not much out
there these days that I would spend any money on.
Sorry to be a downer but 17 Miracles highlighted the struggle I have with the
concept of miracles in general. One scene the movie depicted an incredible
miracle that saved or prolonged someone's life. And the next scene depicted a
dozen people being burried in a shallow grave. It is similar to a family who
professes a miracle that their missing child was found when the hundreds of
other families who only find a body if their lucky wonder where their miracle
was. It can be discouraging to recognize how random and inconsistent miracles
I appreciated the fact that the marketing for 17 Miracles included limited
release outside of Happy Valley, and that they got the word out. I would like
to see this approach by others making Mormon films. It would not surprise me if
the showing in Plano, TX (held over for an extra week) was one of the more
profitable outside of Utah.Only problem was, with many Cinemark
theaters to choose from, they chose to show the film in one of the most
expensive venues in the area. I think this probably hurt ticket sales. ($8.50
for a matinee, $12 for an evening show)Of course, if their goal was
to maximize revenue, instead of maximize exposure, I imagine they succeeded.
@ bglNice tongue-in-cheek try there bgl. Fortunately, neither
"Banner of Heaven" nor "The Book of Mormon" Musical sheds
much light about real members of the LDS Church, but they do bring publicity to
the Church that we certainly play off of.I have been largely
disapointed with LDS Cinema, but I have enjoyed occasional film. "Best Two
Years" and "Other Side of Heaven" did a respectable job. With
"17 Miracles", TC took an oft told event and made it very interesting.
Just wait till you see his next one.
I really enjoyed the movie. It ranks up there at the top of the Mormon movies.
Saints and Soldiers is my favorite.
Re: SCCougar - Amazon, Netflix, DeseretBook (online), etc. There are many
options to purchase (and some to rent) the films.
I liked the movie, but am prejudiced because I was an "extra" in it.
My qualification to be an extra is my ability to grow a great beard and look
like a bum. I found it interesting & astonishing how a coherent movie can be
made from a bunch of unrelated, short, staged scenes lasting ~30 seconds.
Christensen had trouble finding good, deep snow; the weather was not
cooperative. Nevertheless, the movie brought tears to my eyes. The musical
score was stunning. The considerable creativity of all involved was aptly
I like the ones made about Mormons better than the ones made by Mormons. The
new, Ron Howard directed "Under the Banner of Heaven" looks awesome
and will help the rest of the country learn about the great state of Utah in
some of our darker times. Also, the Book of Mormon musical, has been such a
blockbuster and has helped people learn so much about the church, that I'm
certain that wonderful actors and directors will be vying to take part in what
is sure to be an Academy Award nominated film, when it comes out in the next
couple of years. That's one great thing about film, there are films for
everybody. Films that entertain and enlighten Mormons and films that shed a
little light on Mormons.
Where can someone outside of Utah get a hold of these movies?
We went to see 17 Miracles a week ago when it finally came to our local theater.
I loved it. I really enjoy most of the "Mormon" movies, with the
exception of Home Teachers, and Church Ball (or whatever it was called), both
really goofy, IMHO. While Brigham City is a little dark, I really like it.
Richard Dutcher has made some good movies. I also like Chris Heimerdinger's
movie, Passage to Zarahemla. Some of it was a little silly, but I liked it
anyway. There are so many, like Mountain of the Lord, The Testaments, and so on,
that are good quality, well made films. And I thought the Work and the Glory
series was good. Hard to fit everything into 3 movies, but I like them anyway.
Keep up the good work. Oh yeah, The Other Side of Heaven was very well made. I
read the book, too, which had a different title...can't think of it. The movie
was quite true to the book.
Some broach Mormonism subtly ("Saints and Soldiers"), some are
heavy-handed ("Day of Defense") and some are just embarrassing
("The Home Teachers").==================== Andand others are just to stupid to mention ("Passage to
Chris, how about giving us your top ten (which should include Other Side of
Heaven). It would be interesting to know the top ten by revenue too....Here are my top ten, the top five would shift around some depending on the
day.God's ArmyThe Best Two YearsOther Side of HeavenSaints and SoldiersErrand of AngelsGod's Army IISingles
Ward17 MiraclesBrigham CityWork and the Glory I
I had a ancestor's story in this film. She was the sister of my
Great-Great-Great Grandpa Samuel Lane Crook, and her stories were the ones
where, she was running away from her abusive husband and he went after her, but
when he saw her on the train, he could not recognize her, and then the one,
where she recieved dried meat to share with the company from a man, but when she
returned to thank him there was no one to be found. I had heard these stories
when I was younger, but to see them in the movie gave me goose bumps.
Brigham City was the best Mormon film made and by a long shot.
Loved it. It drew me in immediately and I forgot most were amateur actors.
Critics said it was hard to follow. Not at all. I was engaged in the movie
from beginning to end and I am not easy to please when it comes to the Mormon
genre. I knew a lot of the stories also and it did not make me any less
interested. The only criticism I had was the snow wasn't deep enough. History
told that there was much more than the movie showed. But a very good movie
nonetheless and well worth seeing.
The genre has been pretty uneven, from pretty good (Saints And Soldiers, any of
Richard Dutcher's work) to just horrible (just about everything from Halestorm.)
The problem is that too many filmmakers want to make MORMON movies instead of
Mormon MOVIES. To quote Roger Ebert, some people are so concerned that a movie
doesn't have anything bad that they don't care if it has anything good. Don't worry about showing off your standards to the world. If you tell
the story well enough, that'll take care of itself.
I forgot to add that my ancestors were in the Martin Company....and it still
didn't draw me in.
I agree with Chris, also -- whether he has a tiny vested interest or not. I
went in feeling that we had already heard too much about "tens" and
not enough about the "thousands". What I mean is that the experience
of the Willie and Martin companies was not the experience of many other
companies. BUT the statistics at the end of the film indicated that the
mortality rate in those cases was actually typical of the entire trek --
"which thing I had never supposed." I've never learned that much from
the credits before :) I also agree with Chris that the other "great"
film was God's Army. I miss Richard Dutcher. I did find it curious that Chris
did not mention "The Other Side of Heaven." These three, to me, have
the most substance of all LDS oriented cinema.
I have to disagree with your opinion on this. While I was familiar with most of
the pioneer stories in this film, I found the film quite boring. I would rank my
top lds films in this order:1. The Best Two Years2. The Other Side
of Heaven3. Singles Ward4. God's Army5. Charlie...because of
the emotion it stirs6. All the rest are a tieMy problem with
17 Miracles was that it never drew me in. I wanted to "love" it...but
Dear Ventor: "The Other Side of Heaven" WAS made by Mormons. The
producer and director are both LDS. The Producer is an Oscar winner for
Schindler's List. He played the first mission president in the film. The
director is a BYU film school graduate. Most of the actors were not LDS. But,
the film is LDS produced and directed. Just thought I'd set the record
Excellent article. I was a bit surprised that 'The other side of Heaven' was not
mentioned in this. This was an excellent Mormon Flick done by Non-Mormons (Holly
wood did this one.) In fact, I would say it is the best Mormon film done by
how's the new Joseph Smith movie?
I can't wait to get my DVD next week. It was a great movie, one that I will
enjoy again and again.I hope Mr. Christensen continues to create
great works like this in the future.