Impressions of Ephraim’s Rescue
Last night my family (and half of our stake and outlying wards it seems) gathered for a screening of “Ephriam’s Rescue” the new T.C. Christensen film. Christensen has also gifted us with stories like:
- Down and Derby
- Finding Faith in Christ
- On the Way Home (film)
- Roving Mars
- Seasons of the Heart (film)
- The ButterCream Gang
(Thank you Wikipedia)
The story for us was heightening due to the fact that two of Ephriam Hanks’ 5x Great Granddaughters live in our ward. The film was sold out and Deseret Book made a deal with the theater on the day of the screening to open a second theater. That was nice since all but the first three rows were filled.
It was heart-warming in a land outside of the two-block wards, to see so many friends and members from different parts of my last 30 years in one place. I sat next to a burley man with a jovial smile and a chatty personality that I would have placed in a cowboy hat and chaps. Later I found out he was a bishop. Behind us was an elderly woman (anyone older than me is now elderly) who was very interested in sharing her stories and hearing about my connections to pioneers. She was charming and happy and warm. We arrived about an hour early as there were about ten of us who wanted seats together. As it was we could only find them about three rows closer than I would have preferred.
The story is about the Martin handcart company (See trailer here: ) being rescued by several men, one of which was Ephriam Hanks. It tells his story from his conversion through the lessons and trials of his life to become a “Good Man”.
Being a member of DUP (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers) I’ve heard many of these stories from different points of view. My own ancestry were in both the Willie and the Martin companies. So the story was of course gripping. It was embellished as any good historical reenactment must be, but it felt fairly true to the accounts we have of the experiences.
I loved several moments in the film. I also laughed (inappropriately apparently from the look my husband gave me) in several moments that were intended to be touching. I’m odd that way however, so pay me no mind. I seldom cry where I’m ‘supposed to’ and laugh where I’m not. I simply find humanity compelling on many levels.
Anyway, as far as a movie goes, it was fairly well-done, though the budget constraints showed in places. It is a far step from the earlier attempts of LDS moviemakers, and I laude the artists for their strides towards quality. There remains room for improvement of course, but not completely distracting. In some parts I was even completely caught up.
There was humor, drama that wasn’t too overdone, fairly good acting and in places excellent acting. The cinematography was warm and believable and the sets historically accurate. There were places where the dialogue was overdone, the acting too sullen or uncharacteristic and maudlin. However, I loved the scenes of washing, the continuity and the silence said more than any dialogue could possibly.
In all, I’d recommend it to anyone. It is highly ‘Mormon’ with all the references and no apology for using our own dialect. I rather liked that to be candid. I tire of LDS writers/filmmakers trying to hide the LDS aspect of their stories to appeal to a ‘larger audience’. I prefer transparency.
This beautiful story can hold its own, and gives no apology for the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit. I left feeling that I could do more than I do, and like it. That is an accomplishment for any film.