An adopted Olympic Taekwondo hopeful, Michele Neil can’t get a break in life. Her father’s accident leaves the family desperate to find ways to make ends meet. At one point, while training for the Olympics, Michele is homeless, living out of her car for over a year, trying to help her family and make her dream come true. But one misfortune after another finally has Michele questioning her faith, not realizing God is guiding her toward her true calling.
Just before their wedding, the maid of honor, Michele’s best friend, delivers a package to Mark Sherwood. In that box is a list of things that Michele had wanted in her future man, written years before. When his best man enters the room, Mark dives into sharing Michele’s life story and how her past contributed to her successful career as a doctor. Delivered through a series of flashbacks, the audience gets a glimpse into Michele’s traumatic childhood—from adoption, to difficult moves and an injury that ruined her martial arts career, to devastating betrayals and career changes.
The Prayer List is based on an incredible true story, and the concept of flashbacks is a great one. It takes some time for the audience to fully understand that the story is shared through stories, but much of the actors’ script brings the story full circle.
Everything about The Prayer List is intense. Michele’s biological mother, Janet, revealing her pregnancy to Michele’s biological grandfather, the grandfather’s angry reaction, Michele’s fervent prayers—intense, but heartfelt and heart-full.
Biblical scenes, and Michele’s best friend, who always has God’s Word in mind, are an encouraging, refreshing take in today’s film industry.
It is very important to note that this film could be very triggering to some. From the first time we meet the dojo master, it is clear that his intentions with the girls are sexual in nature. He is not only very handsy, but he is disrespectful and entitled. In one particular scene, Michele is seen going into the master’s office and not coming out for quite some time; when the master leaves, Michele is seen crying with her clothes ruffled.
Overall, the plot of The Prayer List is very interesting. For viewers who enjoy films in which flashbacks are a key element, this would be a great film for them. Mark’s love for Michele is apparent and the creation of this film is a wonderful tribute to their relationship and Michele’s resilience.
The Prayer List is Dove-approved for Ages 18+.
The Dove Take:
Based on the true story of Michele Neil and Mark Sherwood, The Prayer List tackles difficult topics while illustrating how faith and perseverance can lead to success.