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The Shack

Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington star in a scene from the movie "The Shack." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Lionsgate)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "The Shack" (Summit), director Stuart Hazeldine's screen version of William Paul Young's best-selling novel, represents a serious effort to tackle the problem of evil from a Christian perspective. As such, it will be welcomed by believers.

While objectionable elements are virtually absent from the film, however, patches of dialogue discounting the value of religion -- here implicitly set in opposition to faith broadly speaking -- and hinting that God is indifferent to how we worship him mean that impressionable viewers should keep their distance. So, too, does the morally problematic treatment of a dark and long-kept secret.

After his young daughter, Missy (Amelie Eve), is abducted and murdered, previously devout churchgoer Mackenzie "Mack" Phillips (Sam Worthington) has a crisis of faith. But a note from "Papa," his wife, Nan's (Radha Mitchell), nickname for God, leads to an encounter with the Trinity near the titular hideout where evidence of Missy's death was uncovered that alters his perspective.

Octavia Spencer plays an unflappable, warmhearted God the Father, Avraham Aviv Alush a fun-loving Jesus and Sumire a serene Holy Spirit. As Spencer bakes, Sumire gardens and Alush tinkers in his carpentry shed, Worthington learns to see his own tragedy as a spiritual death that offers the prospect of resurrection.

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