I’m Not Him
Jimmy Valentino has been saved by a miracle – or at least that’s what he believes. Given his second chance, Jimmy conveys what he’s discovered to others in need who, to his astonishment, quickly recover. Jimmy tries to keep his profile under the radar but when word spreads about his extraordinary acts, the world converges upon him. A few admire him. Some try to imitate him. Most denounce and disparage what he does as dangerous and sacrilegious.
When a patient dies after following what he believes is Jimmy’s advice, Jimmy is arrested and prosecuted. With his life in peril once again, Jimmy needs another miracle – one that can’t be questioned.
Jimmy Valentino has it all — the slice-of-Americana Catholic family, nice house out in the ‘burbs, great-paying job where his input is vital and respected — right up until the day he discovered that knot on his back. The doctor initially thinks it’s just a cyst, but even without advanced medical training, we the audience already know better. An on-the-spot, painful biopsy reveals advanced lymphoma. “We need to prepare for the worst, Jimmy,” the doctor says.
As you might imagine, when worse comes to worst, some things get better in a hurry. Like Jimmy’s prayer life. But so do the results. He fills a warm glass out of the dishwasher with cold water and, despite the fact that it usually takes greater extremes in the temperatures to do damage, the glass cracks. It’s not just any old crack, but one in the shape of the cross, which also cuts his hand in the same pattern. Undoubtedly, this is a sign.
The ball is rolling now. The doctor calls Jimmy and says his cancer has disappeared. So has the cut on his hand. Before Jimmy can celebrate, he crosses paths with 12-year-old Angela, who needs an operation that carries a 4-percent survival rate. Now, I’m not sure hospitals green-light medical procedures that only one in 25 lives to pay the bill, but let’s not nitpick here.
Because shortly after Jimmy asks the girl’s parents if he can pray with her, and teaches Angela that “there’s a difference in saying prayers and praying,” Jimmy learns the girl’s tumor is gone. That wasn’t what he expected to hear when Angela’s parents showed up, minus Angela. It is, however, a perfect set-up for what Jimmy says to the parents next: “You scared the sugar out of me.” Apparently, that’s the preferred expression before your gift goes viral, generating 143 million views in a matter of days.
Everybody wants a piece of Jimmy now — other hopelessly sick people and the news media, which loves a ratings-boosting tale. It’s infringing on his time with the wife, son and daughter, and he’s got to draw the line somewhere. While insisting that he is not the source of the miracles (hence the title, I’m Not Him), Jimmy chooses to follow the supernatural, and abruptly quits his job to share the gift with others. Just before you ask what can possibly go wrong with such a selfless decision, besides a missed mortgage payment and maybe a few meals, Jimmy learns the hard way: Two guys smack him around and threaten to kill him for “playing God,” and a terminally ill unbeliever who allegedly took Jimmy’s advice dies instead of receiving healing.
If that’s not bad enough, the unbeliever’s death lands Jimmy in the crosshairs of a district attorney running for re-election. Trying to project her toughness on “crime,” the DA offers Jimmy a laughable 32-year sentence as a plea bargain. Even representing himself in a bench trial — that means no jury, just the judge determining your fate — Jimmy knows enough to bet on himself. He’ll take his chances, even with a prickly, borderline-rude judge who insists those before him rise and address him as “your honor” in every single answer.
Jimmy also knows obscure 16th-century art, which — call me crazy or woefully uninformed — is exponentially harder to fathom than his ability to heal people. Angela keeps sending him drawings which he figures out, all on his own, are perfect sketch recreations of parts of a painting called “Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece” by Moretto da Brescia from 1534. (Much of my 16th-century Italian Renaissance artwork knowledge is not up to speed, to my everlasting and enduring shame. Therefore, I was forced to Google it. Forgive me, but be pleased to learn: It’s legit.) Angela’s sketchings seem to foreshadow what will happen next.
If you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, looking a guy to tell you how these pieces ultimately fit, well, I’m Not Him either. However, having ventured this deep into the Spoiler-Free Zone, you should be rewarded to learn that there’s no nudity or sex, only doctor-prescribed drugs, and just a brief episode of violence (when Jimmy tastes a fist from one who objects to his “playing God”). The closest anybody comes to bad language is the aforementioned sugary-sweet swear scare. While it helps to be well acquainted with Catholic theology, it isn’t essential to understand the story, which is Dove-approved for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
Having the gift of healing is a great thing, and sharing it is even better. But this movie puts you in position to walk in the protagonist’s shoes and ask: Would you be willing and able to pay the price?