I’m in no position to talk about whether the depiction of the Amish was on point or not I am in a position to speak of the quality of the film. Now, this was an Affirm Film which says something about the type of film it is. Affirm Films is focused on producing films that focus on faith. All different types of faith. Plus it is also a Hallmark film, so you know it is going to be family friendly.
Katie Lapp (Danielle Panabaker – Mr. Brooks, Friday the 13th – 2009) has always had a bit of trouble following the rules of her Amish community. Encouraged by her now deceased (or is he as his body was never found) first love Daniel (David Topp), Katie secretly played guitar and sang songs not within the Amish prayer book. Both these things break the rules set down by the Amish faith. A generally good girl, Katie cannot seem to stop despite the fact she knows it is wrong.
The biggest test of Katie’s faith comes after she discovers that she is not the biological child of her mother (Sandra W Van Natta – The Notebook) and father (Bill Oberst Jr – The Secret Life of Bees). A woman named Laura Mayfield-Bennett (Sherry Stringfield – from television’s ER), who has recently come around Lancaster County asking for information on a woman named Rachel who has a daughter around 20 years old, is her biological mother.
After finding out that she is not who she thought she was understandably sends Katie reeling. Due to the news she decides she cannot marry the man she has been promised to, the bishop, John Beiler (Burgess Jenkins – Remembering the Titans, The Reaping), and her ensuing behaviour leads to her being shunned by her entire community. Now Katie really has no one to turn to.
The Shunning is based on a series of very popular novels by Beverly Lewis. Some have complained that the film is very different from the book. Now, I have to step in and say that a film being different from a novel is usually the case. You cannot put all the details of a book in a film or you would have 8 hour films. Stuff has to be edited to make it a reasonable length and watchable.
The main problem I had with The Shunning was all the ends it left untied. We are totally left hanging. Does Katie ever meet her biological mother? Does she leave the Amish faith for the “English” ways? Is Daniel really dead or did he just escape to the “English”. Too many things were not resolved in the film and that might have been why the film felt rushed in parts.
-Previews of Affirm Films, Courageous, Call Me Mrs. Miracle, The Mighty Macs, Grace Card, Soul Surfer