This Hallmark Channel film was written for the screen and directed by Michael Landon Jr. (son of Michael Landon of Bonanza fame). It fits the Hallmark mode, filled with sentimental stories told in an inspirational style. The story is based on the hit novel from New York Times best-selling author Beverly Lewis.
“The Confession” is set in the territory of the Pennsylvania Amish country, with the tensions of its leading character having been “shunned” from the Amish life due to her choice to live in the outside world of the “Englishers.” Katie Lapp (Katie Leclerc) was raised by an Amish family, having been given up at birth by her birth mother. Katie has always longed to know her real mother, not knowing that she lived nearby as the wealthy philanthropist Laura Mayfield-Bennett (Sherry Stringfield) who is in the last stages of dying of cancer.
In contrast to the pure hearts of mother and daughter, Laura’s husband is a gambler and manipulator intent on gaining control of the Mayfield estate to pay off his gambling debts. Knowing of his addictions, Laura has written her husband out of the will. Betraying his loving wife, he perpetrates a fraud by bringing in an actress to play the part of Laura’s long-lost daughter in hopes that she will turn over her estate to her newly-found offspring, who in turn will give the estate into her husband’s hands.
In contrast, the real Katie has come to work for the Mayfield-Bennett household as a servant. As she comes to realize who her real mother is, she is confused by the deception that “outsiders” don’t always tell the true. She is torn between wanting to expose what is true, and wanting to stay true to her “Amish” nature and let circumstances play out to their God-ordained conclusion.
In true Hallmark fashion, the story has a happy ending with enough twists to presume a sequel. While the story is subdued in its drama, it is high in moral examples of good triumphing over evil.
What is left unexplored are the love relationships between Katie and her former Amish family, her relationship with her former Amish boyfriend, and her relationship with her newly developing friendship with the head of Laura Mayfield-Bennett’s philanthropic foundation. These are all very different worlds that deserve some explanation of how she copes with her changing circumstances.
Deceit in an otherwise Christian relationship may be common, but it would be better to work through these issues in the story rather than leaving them unexplored. Also, exploring the intent of the Mayfield Foundation would add depth to the story, especially since Katie will be left with the foundation following her mother’s demise from cancer.
This is a wholesome story that is good family fare. Mostly likely, though, it will only be available on the rental market. In a world filled with gratuitous sex and violence, “The Confession” is a welcome family film for a family night at home.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. If you were in Katie’s shoes would you wait for divine providence or take matters into your own hands? Why do you answer as you do?
2. Often those raised within the Christian community are naïve about the willingness of others to be deceitful. Do you believe this is an asset or a detriment for such life-long Christians?
3. It is difficult to imagine what a child experiences who has been given up for adoption except for those who have experienced it. Do you think such an act is one of love?
Cinema In Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. For more reviews: www.cinemainfocus.com.