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The Encounter

Movie Review:
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 85 min
Released Date: 2010

If your life’s philosophy is to take the easy road, you have little interest in why life holds so many bad times, or your life’s just been a care-free joy ride, then you probably won’t get too much out of this film. But if you’ve encountered your share of pit falls and tragedies and can admit you don’t have answers to all of them, then the meat of this production may offer something you can chew on for a while.

Fourteen-year-old Kayla (newcomer Madison Gibney) is running away from abusive parents. The marriage of Hank (Jamie Nieto) and Cathryn (Danah Davis) is on the rocks, while Melissa (Jaci Velasquez) is traveling four hundred miles to see her boyfriend in the hopes he might ask her to marry him. Nick (Steve Borden) is a former NFL All-Pro crusher of quarterbacks who now owns a slew of successful hamburger joints, but his anger must stem from something deeper than being late for a meeting. These five people, on different roads in life, end up together on a deserted, dirt road in northern California and must seek shelter in a roadside diner where they, literally, meet Jesus (Bruce Marchiano)—and as Jesus feeds these five, we are offered the substance of the storyline.

Scripturally deep and accurate answers are given to very difficult life-issues: divorce, abuse, anger, loneliness, individual worth, pride of accomplishment, self-dependence, true salvation, and the pervasive way we settle for relationships with people who don’t truly care for us. Tough questions include why God allows abuse and pain and suffering; why both self-determination and divine providence are true, and the interplay between them; even why God would command the Israelites to annihilate entire people groups. And Marchiano believably delivers answers, often quoting or adapting Scripture, addressing individuals’ needs rather than their verbal arguments—a viable portrayal of the Gospels’ depictions of how Christ spoke with people during His three, public-ministry years.

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