The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith
by Phil Boatwright

Pure Flix Entertainment brings the Old Testament second-chance story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz to DVD. Starring Sherry Morris, Eleese Lester and Christian music entertainer Carman, the selfless acts of these three people develop into a biblical Cinderella story and remind us that the Word is full of entertaining and revealing parables.

Regrettably, I must report the film’s failings. Slow pacing, bad sound mixing, and sincere but uninspired acting makes this one a challenge to sit through. Most of the males in this film are doomed, leaving grieving widows all over the place. As if these scenes weren’t extended enough, a slow motion camera is employed as alarmed women “rush” to the scene of their dying or dead loved ones. This leads to many a weeping scene, and while the actors are emoting as best they can, strangely we are not so moved. Is this detachment a sign of bad writing or bad directing?

Scenes are prolonged with a repetitive background piano meant to heighten the emotions but failing, doing little more than testing our desire to fast-forward. Some of the writing seems anachronistic and the limited budget leaves us with less than inspiring sets and cinematography.

This feels like a church movie and many will view it in that context, reveling in its reverence for biblical precepts and the fact that it lacks any objectionable content. I do not have that luxury. As a reviewer, I must also look at the production values – that’s my job. I praise the film for its desire to teach us concerning facing responsibility, putting others before ourselves, the need for faith, and for reminding us that second chances can come. But reading the book of Ruth would take less time and stir the spirit far more than sitting through this screen adaptation.

DVD Alternatives: I Remember Mama. Irene Dunne is outstanding in this touching tale of a mother’s love for her Norwegian immigrant family living in San Francisco at the turn of the century. As the Norwegian mama says, “Was good.”

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes. (1945) Edward G. Robinson (outstanding), Margaret O'Brien. Charming look at rural life during the beginning of WWII. Contains a respect for Christianity, life, and the price we pay for freedom. Keep Kleenex handy for Margaret's sacrifice toward the end of the film.

And by all means, read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament.