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Good Sam

Drama / Family / Romance
2019 / 89 minutes
RATING: 8/10

Kate Bradley is a TV news reporter following the “bummer beat” in New York City, covering fires and other tragedies. That’s left her a little cynical, and her boss is worried that it’s also left her more than a little jaded about the dangers she risks to get her stories. So when a story breaks about an anonymous good samaritan leaving a bag of $100,000 outside a financial-strapped older lady’s door, Kate’s boss decides to give her this safer assignment.

Kate isn’t happy about her new beat, and presumes there has to be some sort of angle behind the good deed. As she tells her cameraman, “It’s hard to believe that there’s somebody out there doing good deeds and expecting nothing in return.” But when the money keeps coming the mystery only deepens; “Good Sam” leaves a second bag of cash with a doctor who isn’t in any sort of need. The third recipient, a carpenter who’d been laid up with an injury, has no connection to the first two. And the news just keeps getting better when folks who’ve heard about Good Sam start acting like him, and starting their own Good Samaritan clubs, to do anonymous good deeds in their neighborhoods.

Good Sam would have been too sugary-sweet if it’d keep on this track, but we find out that Kate’s cynicism isn’t baseless: a tech programmer claims to be Good Sam, but Kate quickly exposes him as a fake. And that’s not the only dirt that Kate uncovers.

I appreciated a romance angle that was less predictable than most. Kate gets two love interests, both pretty stalwart sorts… or so it seems. Kate’s father is a US senator, and when she meets charming hedge fund manager Jack Hansen she initially turns him down, as she has a rule against dating anyone in her father’s political circles. Eric Hayes is a firefighter Kate keeps bumping into in her day job. He is as brave as he is private… or might the right word be secretive? Which of these two will she end up with? That’s another mystery, and viewers are left in suspense for most of the movie.

Cautions

No language or violence concerns to share. There is some kissing, right at the end, but exchanged in a public park.

The more notable caution is for what the movie doesn’t have – this is a part of Netflix’s “Faith and Spirituality” category, but it isn’t either. While the original Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25-37) teaches us what it means to live out the Second Greatest Commandment, this one avoids any mention of God.

Conclusion

The moral of the story trends in a humanist direction – people aren’t as bad as we think as they will sometimes do things for completely unselfish reasons. However, the Calvinist in me can recast this in a more orthodox direction, seeing it as an illustrated of how the world is broken but not utterly depraved, and the cyclical Kate has no right to be so in the face of the many undeserved blessings she (and we) receive daily.

While this is just a Hallmark-ish kind of romance, I’d give it two thumbs up for being way better than the average sort. The acting is solid throughout, the mystery and romance will keep most viewers guessing for the first three quarters of the film, and the lack of problematic content make this one you can watch with almost the whole family (though I don’t know if it’ll grab the under 8s).

That makes Good Sam a pretty rare treat.

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WHEN AND WHERE?

Edmonton: April 19 at 7:30 pm at Immanuel Canadian Reformed Church

Barhead: April 20 at 7:30 pm at Emmanuel United Reformed Church

Ponoka: April 22 at 7:30 pm at Parkland Reformed Church

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Drama, Movie Reviews

A Royal Christmas

Drama / Romance 87 minutes / 2014 RATING: 7/10 How would you react if you found out that the wonderful, thoughtful, fun, quiet someone you were dating was secretly royalty? That's the premise, in this fun-for-the-whole-family Hallmark outing. Emily Taylor is a young talented clothes designer, who comes by her skills from growing up in the family's tailor shop. Leo James is her long-time boyfriend – it's been almost a year now! – who suddenly reveals that he is actually the crown prince of the tiny kingdom of Cordinia. And he's inviting Emily to come visit the kingdom for Christmas. The one hitch? Queen Isadora (played by Jane Seymour of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is dead set against her son marrying a commoner. So will Emily win over the frosty queen? Will she find a way to fit in with dukes and countesses? Can she learn the ways of royalty without losing the spark that makes her special? And will the lonely queen find someone to love? If you've seen any of these kinds of films before, you can already answer all of these questions. But that doesn't make it any less fun to watch. Caution The one caution would be a passing mention that years ago the prince once went skinny-dipping with a duchess. It was a weird inclusion, and totally not in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film (maybe it was something innocent when they were just little kids?). The only other concern is that this is yet another movie with "Christmas" in the title that makes no mention of the reason for the season, Christ. Not surprising from Hallmark; still disappointing. Conclusion When I came up with my own film rating scale, what I had in mind for a 7 was a typical Hallmark film, one that was entertaining, but where the acting wasn't all that noteworthy in either a bad or good direction. That's exactly what we have here. A Royal Christmas was enjoyed by all in our household, from 9 all the way up to mom and dad. Shucks, if grandma and grandpa had stopped by, I'm sure they would have liked it too. It's not amazing, but it sure is nice. ...