I recalled there were moments I cried together with the characters, and there were moments I just cried, as I knew the would-be of the story. And at some moments, I did not know why I cried, but I think God was using this movie to touch my heart, especially at the deep places where His love and my hurts met.
It came as a surprise that Letters to God was showing in Singapore’s cinema because of its religious content. The content of the movie is just as the title has stated; it is all about letters posted to God firstly written by one boy, and later the entire neighborhood. Based on a true story, Letters to God tells the story of Tyler Doherty, a young boy stricken with cancer, and the lives he touches: his worried mother Maddie, feisty friend Sam, troubled teen brother Ben, and alcoholic postman Brady McDaniels. Tyler’s example of courage, perseverance, and most of all the letters he writes to God inspire others and lead them to put their faith in God and turn to Jesus Christ.
The main story was intertwined with stories of several other characters. I think it is an excellent production because it gives every character a chance to express their feelings and their questions about faith in God, where viewers like me could identify. I appreciate the movie director’s skill in releasing these real life questions without exaggerations or faked emotions.
Yet another surprise was the boy who had cancer showed the least emotions. He was pleasant, encouraging, but having very few negative emotions. People I came across or knew who suffered from cancer wasn’t that calm and pleasant; Some refuse to accept their conditions, and giving their family members hard times; some believe they are a burden to their family, and tend to think negatively, and caused even more pain to the family. This portrait of a young boy who believed in God has definitely spoken the loudest in testifying how one’s hope and faith work in a person’s life. On contrast, the other characters that were not dying were having all kinds of questions and emotions. I tend to think that the director is doing this on purpose in order to draw out those who share the same response when they are facing the sicknesses and dying of a loved one.
“Does God really care?” Maddie’s question kept resounding in my ears. She asked a question that everyone would be asking when life was hit with adversities. I felt that she is a sounding board; say aloud the questions that are usually kept in hearts. Many times, as we tried to suppress these feelings, we might turn bitter towards God. One thing I like about is that the characters in the story did not stay in their questions, but have moved on with God. In the style of a good story, all questions and tension resolved in the end. Though the ending is more or less expected, it still drove me to tears.
Letters Tyle wrote were simple words about his daily lives and questions about life and death while he was fighting caner. These letters express his quiet trust in God. The letters were his prayers to God. He saw how God answered his letters or prayers through the daily happenings in life. This reminds me of the God who cares even when life doesn’t seem to make any sense. He is near when we need him most. This reminder touched my heart and I started to cry another time with running tears down my cheeks non-stop. I literally cried all the way out of the cinema. Thank God that I wasn’t the only one who cried this way that day.