Ethan Rengepis (Adam Ratcliffe) is a recovering alcoholic on a train ride to fulfill his life’s mission, to reunite with his young autistic son, Lucas. After a stop, a distinguished looking man sits down across from Ethan, and they strike up a conversation. The gentleman introduces himself as Ambrose and is quite interested as Ethan, through a series of flashbacks, paints the mural of his life. The son of a loving, godly mother and a drinking, berating father, Ethan was confronted with family turmoil from an early age.
Eventually, he became like his father, drunk or absent, abandoning his family when Lucas was a baby. From there, the spiral soared south as he traded responsibility for liquor and best friends for addiction. Through the intoxicated messes and the ugly setbacks, through jail time, homelessness and hallucinations, Ethan never lost his love for the unreachable star.
However, neither his love for Lucas, nor his good friends’ concerns could empower him enough to slay the monster, but by God’s grace, he landed in the Bethesda Mission. The kind, but strict director offered him a Bible and reminded Ethan that his future depends on his relationship with Christ. Ambrose is still listening.
The train stops. Ethan says goodbye and revisits childhood places on his way to see Lucas. Upon his arrival, a boy doesn’t notice Ethan as he jumps out of a swing to kick a ball. Already overwhelmed with emotion, Ethan is horrified as the ball heads for the street, Lucas right behind. Just in time, Ethan can grab Lucas, protecting him from inevitable death. What happens next jolts us as Ambrose appears. At this point, the film takes an intriguing double twist, as we experience the miraculous.
The father-son relationship is a central theme in this film; at least three characters have unresolved issues. Even Ambrose takes on a parental-like role at one point, convincing Ethan he can’t turn back on his fatherly duty. The importance of having a responsible, strong, loving father isn’t a frequent topic embraced by films today, but Right Before Your Eyes does just that; it is a film of importance. Healthy societies can’t thrive without strong fathers.
Additionally, the film focuses on our total inability to scale the wall of addiction alone, but with God, all things are possible. David Vincent Bobb, director, cowriter and producer, surprises us. He brings a powerful, well-acted, filmed, and directed Christian movie to the low-budget arena which unfortunately, many times, is ‘quality challenged’. Kudos to you, Mr. Bobb!
Although Right Before Your Eyes has numerous drinking scenes conveying the hopelessness of addiction, they are not so disgusting that a 12-year-old couldn’t see. Dove awards this film the 12+ Seal of Approval.
The Dove Take:
Right Before Your Eyes is a powerful film that promotes the importance of healthy, strong fatherhood and illustrates the strength of God’s hand in healing the hopeless.