Posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
Even though Sam Worthington is the star of the highest grossing movie of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar, he’ll never quite be the box office draw as an actor like Will Smith. But it looks like he’ll try to follow closely in his footsteps on the dramatic side of things by starring in a movie that is basically his own Collateral Beauty.
The Shack, based on The New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, follows a father (Worthington) who falls into a deep depression after his daughter is abducted on a family vacation and found murdered in a remote cabin in Oregon. But one day, he receives a mysterious letter calling him back to the cabin, and what he finds may be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track.
Watch The Shack trailer after the jump.
This feels like Collateral Beauty all over, from the depression after losing a daughter to the three people he speaks to in The Shack, but with a tinge of What Dreams May Come. But unlike the Will Smith movie coming to theaters this winter, this one comes from a book that is very much a faith-based narrative. Here’s the synopsis of the book by William P. Young:
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.
However, the official synopsis for the movie doesn’t spell out the influence of faith and God so obviously. Here’s how the studio is selling the movie:
After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa (Octavia Spencer). Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.
It’s pretty clear what “Papa” is supposed to mean, but maybe the movie will be a little more subtle than the book seems to be. Still, it looks like one of the cheesiest dramas, something that’s a common trait in these faith-based movies that are looking to pull in the churchgoing crowds by the bus load. It doesn’t help that Sam Worthington, one of the least expressive actors working today, is in the lead role, but maybe the supporting cast of Octavia Spencer, Radha Mitchell and (sigh) Tim McGraw can help him work through it.
The Shack opens in theaters on March 3, 2017.