Shawnee Smith, Ryan O'Quinn, Danielle Nicolet and Issac Ryan Brown star in a scene from the movie "Believe." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Believe the Film)
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Evangelical Christian faith hovers in the background of the holiday-themed drama "Believe" (Freestyle). Though not as rose-colored in its outlook as some religiously-inspired projects, the movie -- which is suitable for most age groups -- lacks polish.
Cash-strapped factory owner Matthew Peyton (Ryan O'Quinn) faces both the impending collapse of his business and the end of the annual Christmas fair his family has long sponsored in his small hometown. In fact, he's in danger of becoming a local pariah since not only are his workers on strike against him, but his neighbors -- many of whom make a substantial profit from the carnival, though he puts it on for free -- stand to lose out as well.
As Matthew struggles to decide whether to sell his company to save the festival, he draws support from his best friend since childhood, physician Nancy Wells (Shawnee Smith). He also gets emotional backup from a duo of newfound acquaintances: impoverished, ailing single mother Sharon Joseph (Danielle Nicolet) and her indefatigably cheerful little boy, Clarence (Issac Ryan Brown).
Matthew met the Josephs when Clarence took on the role of good Samaritan, rescuing Matthew after he was beaten up by thugs who also set his car on fire. This physical attack is only the starkest of the negative developments Job-like Matthew must cope with as the often downbeat proceedings move forward.