Forgiving the Worst Foe: Why Amish Grace is a Story Worth Gold
It happened in my fifth grade year of school. I sat at my desk, lost in my own business, when a male voice attracted my attention. I detached my eyes from my schoolwork and directed them toward a boy in the distance. From his lips to my ears traveled these words: “Jess is big, big. Samara is little, little.” Though he was vague, I knew what he meant. When all the girls around me showed womanly figures already, mine seemed “behind schedule.” Harsh words can bruise a young mind and it took me several years to feel secure in myself again — to forgive and move on. At eleven years old this seemed like the worst, that is, until I traveled into the world of Amish Grace. I watched this movie not long after my elementary school tragedy and I still watch it from time to time. This film is worth gold because it has a thought provoking, tear jerking story, exceptional acting, and a message as clear as the oceans of Fiji. It is not perfect, but it is a great depiction of what forgiveness entails and how hard it is to pardon the worst foes in our lives.
The story told in Amish Grace is based on a real life event, and knowing all these young girls were murdered in real life, somehow makes the story all the more provoking. Gripping stories never run out of style. If they did that would be like telling me Shakespeare is old news. Which he is not; if he was, then his work would not be mentioned in schools to this day. Nevertheless, this forgiveness story does not end with the girls’ death, but goes on to follow those they left behind. How some were quick to forgive and others, such as Ida Graber a mother of a murdered child, not so much. As she says to her husband, “Our child was a priceless value and you made her cheap with your easy forgiveness.” The story mostly revolves around bitter Ida who shows us that forgiving, when it feels like someone took your heart and bit a chunk out of it, can be insanely difficult. Yet, Ida does eventually forgive. After she hears from a witness, that her daughter forgave the man who killed her, Ida’s attitude changes. She states, “Before she died, my daughter had forgiveness in her heart. I can do no less.” The audience can understand Ida in both mentalities; they can understand her bitterness, and because of her daughter’s decision, they can understand her forgiveness. It is an intriguing, relatable story because throughout life questions arise as to why things like this happen. How these people dealt with the situation of murder is interesting since forgiveness is not an approach too often told.
A qualified actor is one who can show you what the worst looks like while walking on a journey with you. The acting here takes you on a journey through two main actresses. One from the perspective of mother Ida Graber, and the other from the perspective of Amy Roberts, the murderers wife. Not many with heart can watch these two women for the first time without a visible tear glistening on their cheek. A great example is the scene where Ida Graber goes to identify her dead daughter. When she sees her, Ida’s grief is so real it makes your stomach turn and your throat sore. Another example is when Amy Roberts tries to figure out how she will tell her children what their father has done. She expresses with a face of mourning, “How am I supposed to tell them that their father… I can’t even say the words to myself. How am I supposed to tell Andy and Ryan your daddy went and murdered I don’t how many little girls — girls the same age as you.” The acting is so awesome you feel the pain and cry as if you are in the same situation. Throughout the movie, I kept saying to myself, “Man, this is extremely good acting!” It must have taken lots of practice to make such on point facial expressions and cry so much. With this movie, a box of tissues is not optional, it is necessary, as these actors make you cry pretty much the whole hour. At least, that is what happened to me; my sleeves were soaked by time the credits appeared.
It is clear the message in this film revolves around forgiveness in the worst of situations. Having a definite message is vital for a drama movie with morals like this one. At the end, when a funeral is being held for murderer Charlie Roberts, is when the glorious message seeps through fully. Amy Roberts belonged to a big church, and yet, less than a dozen of her people showed up to Charlie’s funeral. Who can blame them? Who would want to show up to a funeral of a man who murdered several innocent children? Funerals, however, are not only for the deceased they are also for those still alive. The Amish community understood this, which is why they decided to attend. When only a few were seen at his funeral, that is when those who he hurt the most show their support while giving proof of their forgiveness. The pastor of the funeral expounds, “As our Amish brothers and sister have shown us, when we do not seek vengeance for our pain, when we open our hearts to the healing light of forgiveness, then the darkness is banished and evil is no more.” This is the message of the film and it was smart to put it at the end, because the end is what the audience remembers best. Sometimes, you get movies without a clear message such as The Passion of Christ. Was this movie actually about the passion of Christ or was it about how well the Romans could beat up Jesus? When the audience leaves the theatre what they talk about will most likely be about all the bloody suffering; that is what made them cry not its supposed message. Both Amish Grace and The Passion of Christ involve sobbing reactions from their audiences’. Only one seems to be more clear on the message aspect than the other.
Even the best directors understand there is always room to grow. This film, though in all other aspects worthy, has its faults when it comes to being realistic. One being the scene where the Amish elder spoke to the news camera. I mean during the movie it showed the parents avoiding the camera due to beliefs and then their elder goes and speaks to one. The leaders of a faith are supposed to hold the standards even higher than their people and this scene does not logically make sense in that respect. As well as, the scene where the Amish carriages, out of all the roads in Pennsylvania, happened to pass by the murderers house on their way to the Graber daughter’s funeral. Scenes like this only remind you that you are watching a movie. Even if the film was not based on a real story and all the scenes were fictional, the audience still expects those scenes to be representing the truth as if they were real.
Those who know me, realize I like sad movies because they make me feel appreciative for what I have. This one certainly accomplished making me feel thankful for my smaller scale devastations. While in elementary school, I thought I was going through the worst, but I was not even close to the worst. I was only getting a glimpse of what is called life. I loved this movie because by the time its hour ceased, I was happy all my loved ones were still alive; I was happy I was still alive considering all those girls were killed at the same age I was at the time. The actors moved me and showed me how things could alway be worse. They gave a clear message of inspiration to my young brain and a story worth pondering on. It is far from flawless, but I rate Amish Grace a nine out of ten. I loved almost everything about it, and honestly, it deserves more popularity than it has because it glimmers forgiveness like gold shimmers in the light.