A well made film

by Martin Hafer

In the last year or so, quite a few films have debuted which have been targeted to a more conservative Christian audience, such as Son of God as well as God’s Not Dead. I assumed that Dial a Prayer is pretty much another one of these films, though despite its plot, it isn’t exactly something that will appeal to many of the same folks who would have seen these other movies.

The film is about a surly young lady, Cora (Brittany Snow). She’s got attitude, that’s for sure, and you know that she’s been sentenced to do community service for some sort of crime, though for much of the film you have no idea what she’s done. As for her community service, she works for a Dial-a-Prayer service — an unusual choice for community service considering her attitude about life as well as the crimes she committed. Oddly, however, despite being an angry, lost soul, through the course of the film, she comes to develop a sense of purpose and begins to shed some of her anger and hopelessness.

Dial a Prayer
Written & Directed by
Maggie Kiley
Brittany Snow, William H. Macy, Tom Lipinski
Release Date
10 April 2015
Martin’s Grade: B+

Dial a Prayer has a lot going for it. Snow’s performance is exceptional, as she played troubled and angry quite well–so well that it was difficult liking her character for much of the film. This is a major plus. Additionally, it sure didn’t hurt that the nice minister who ran the center was played by William H. Macy–a guy who just make everything look so easy and natural. I also like the notion that acting good, after a while, makes you good — something fundamental to many philosophies and branches of psychology. The film also really was nice because it was unique and there isn’t anything else like it that I’ve seen in a long time.

But, the film also has a huge problem which will easily impact its marketability. For the traditional Christian audience, while most of the story will please, the cursing and sex just doesn’t fit in with traditional values, and it’s hard to imagine them not being offended. As for others, there are also a lot of folk who have no interest in a film about spirituality, and they’d never see such a movie in the first place. As a result, while it’s a very good film, I just don’t know if it has much of an audience, though it is worth seeing.