WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Destiny. It’s a beautiful concept. Filled with so many fantastical possibilities, encompassing the ideas of the future and how it unfolds when it comes, especially, to relationships. Finding “the one”. Meeting someone and just knowing it is meant to be. Yet, life is almost always not a simple path. And sometimes, a Divine hand has another plan for us while a perfect one is being prepared. For adults Rachel (Juli Tapken) and Mitchell (Rich Swingle), this design could not be more true. For as each experiences the wonders and trials of the chosen road they’re lead down from childhood, choices made and chance encounters along the way begin to meld into a tapestry and love as only God Himself could inspire.
A child Rachel’s (Emily Knapp) tender, giving, and joyful heart strives to survive a painful upbringing amidst a rather apathetic, non-understanding, and impatient mother (Irene Santiago), but a doting grandmother she treasures, who leads her to God. Likewise, a child Mitchell’s (Chase Anderson) experiences feeling unimportant and alone draw him to faith while raised by a single, weary, but loving mother. As loss and fighting for identity come about, teens Rachel (Stacey Bradshaw) and Mitchell (Josh Allen) follow different roads, hers to popularity, his to academia though still an outcast, noticing and interacting with each other along the way in multiple circumstances, as deeper infatuation takes hold. Bonding yet continually held apart, life lessons and events continue to move them forward into adulthood’s grasp.
Facing the culminations of their respective journeys with family, friendships, careers, relationships, and responsibilities, the final pieces begin to move into place by God’s providence to illustrate that the seasons and storms they’ve endured all prepared them for a love more real than either could have expected.
Next, my Mind:
Written and directed by Sharon Wilharm through the production company, Mainstreet Productions, founded by producer/cinematographer/editor husband Fred, “Providence” stands out as a unique addition to the faith-based, independently created films being released in theaters more and more over the past 2 years in that it is completely dialogue free. Relying solely on the actors’ body language, visual presence, and an eclectic soundtrack, the film successfully forgoes verbal play and replaces it with raw, emotional connection that will jump out and grab your heartstrings suitably well. Smoothly filmed and sticking with a rural atmosphere for its narrative, the down home tone of the effort makes it that much more relatable. Additionally, its deep themes of faith, patience, overcoming hardships, real love, and reliance on God are delivered strongly, but not overbearingly, which should appeal to a potentially wider audience.
Honestly, enough cannot be said for all the actors present in this story, as again, there isn’t a single moment of speaking, and therefore it all has to come together through the actions each character takes. Each incarnation of life presented for Rachel and Mitchell is wonderfully dramatized, and the unfolding beauty of their first meeting as children to the moment of “yours forever” connection as adults is a wonder to watch through both the acting and the varying music that follows their journey lyrically and/or stylistically.
Knapp and Anderson are adorable as the childhood pair, Bradshaw and Allen bring the realities of teenage existence to bear superbly and realistically, then Tapken and Swingle finish things as the adults in such a profoundly honest and frank way that the viewer cannot help but be entranced by all the events that lead them to the pivotal moments in their coming together. Of additional note, Santiago performs very admirably throughout the story as Rachel’s mother, aging and transforming across the 40-year span presented in a compelling manner.
In total, “Providence” is a charming, artistic, attractive, earnest, and innocently simple film with a deep, heartfelt message that this reviewer truly hopes will be embraced for its picture of a love born in the now, forged with care by one that is eternal.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!