The Shack (PG13)
Starring Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine
Octavia Spencer’s turn as a Neil Young-loving God is the best thing in this unbearably plodding and mawkish allegorical drama based on the best-selling Christian novel by William Paul Young.
Sam Worthington stars as Mack, a family man who has a falling out with God after his daughter was murdered after being kidnapped during a camping trip. But he’s about to reverse his un-friend status with the Almighty when he encounters the Holy Trinity (played by Spencer, Israeli thesp Avraham Aviv Alush, and Japanese singer-model Sumire) in an idyllic cottage, the kind you find in Grimm fairy tales. (Can God list this property on Airbnb?)
Over the course of the weekend — or a butt-numbing 132 minutes — Mack gets to work out his guilt, grief and anger issues. It’s therapeutic for him, but torture for some folks, especially the secular crowd.
The Shack is like a Bible study guide masquerading as a Lifetime Movie-of-the-Week. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it should at least come with half-hour intermissions, during which the audience can break into small discussion groups and share their feelings over cookies and coffee.
Alas, that didn’t happen at the screening I attended. (2.5 stars)
Photo: Shaw Organisation