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Reviewed by: Michelle C. Danko
Our Rating: 18+
Release: September 5, 2014
Produced By: City of Peace
Directed By: Dustin Marcellino
Cast: Blake Rayne, Erin Cottrell, Amanda Crew, Brian Geraghty, Seth Green, Ashley Judd, Joe Pantoliano, and Ray Liotta.
Many thanks to Casimir Spencer from Grace Hill Media for allowing us to review this remarkable film!
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The Identical is set in Tennessee during the Great Depression. Twin brothers Drexel and Ryan are born to newly married parents who just could not financially support both of them. After attending a tent meeting and hearing of a preacher’s deep desire to have a child of his own, he suddenly knows what he must do… He decides to give the couple one of the twins to raise as their own.
Ryan was selected to be raised by the preacher and his wife. He grew up in the church, and loved to sing at an early age. Even though he was passionate about singing and it appeared to be his calling, he feared disappointing his father who wanted him to be a preacher. Ryan, despite his father’s and teacher’s incessant pleas to him to accept what they felt was his calling- to be a preacher – didn’t feel that this was where God wanted him to be. After much soul searching, he quits seminary school and tells his father of his decision.
It is during this time that his identical twin becomes a famous rock and roll star. Ryan feels an instant, indescribable connection to Drexel, but does not yet even know that he is his twin brother. Through a series of events, Ryan finally achieves his calling of becoming a professional singer- or rather, an identical to Drexel. He looks like Drexel, sings like Drexel, and is hired to be like Drexel. His manager even gave him a clever name, “The Identical”.
While the money and fame are good, it is not enough for Ryan who just longs to be himself. While in the midst of seeking out who he really was, and who God called him to be, Ryan is faced with a tragedy that will forever change his life and the course of it forever. Will Ryan finally step into the calling that God has placed on His life? Will he finally be comfortable in his own skin, or will he revert back to being “The Identical”? Will he ever find out about his past?
The Identical is a very heartwarming movie that draws viewers in right from the beginning. The historical backdrop is very accurate, and enhances the storyline. It is a movie that will take the viewers by the hand through the journey of each individual character. The characters themselves are portrayed so believably that you feel each emotion that they feel. You feel the reality of the hardship of the times, the heart-wrenching pain of a woman giving up her son, the sting of regret, and the indecision of not knowing where you belong- an issue that many of us have faced at some point in our lives.
While the storyline is good, the ending is somewhat anti-climatic (although it was based on a true story). It was more of a middle of the road type of ending instead of over the top impactful, which it could have been.
Overall, the movie is really well done. Ryan/Drexel are guaranteed to remind viewers of Elvis in so many ways. The R&B sound, and musical styling are so reminiscent of Elvis Presley as are his speech, dance moves, and appearance. It is almost like being taken back in time.
I would give this movie three out of five stars. There is a lot of rebellion in the first part of the movie, and secular music. Aside from this, the ending could have been written to have a greater impact on the audience. The movie was written so well, and evoked so much emotion, that I felt the ending was somewhat rushed. I was looking more at a thought that I could take away as a viewer, but didn’t really find a strong, definitive conclusion. Perhaps a narrative of what Ryan learned on his journey and the purpose of the testimony would have had a greater effect.
Things to be Aware of:
Drinking and Smoking- Ryan and his friend, while underage, sneak off to a bar to listen to music. When Ryan blows curfew and gets caught by his father, he lies and says he was at his friend’s house. His dad knows he is lying and catches him at it. They Ryan tells his father that he willfully disobeyed him.
Fighting and Racism- The bar that Ryan and his friend frequent is a “black” bar, which is prohibited due to the separatist movement. The police raid the establishment and trump up charges which Ryan tries to defend. It only gets him into more trouble, and fighting with the arresting officer.
More Misdemeanors- Friend steals his father’s car.
Other Things to Note: Drexel and Ryan’s parents had premarital sex and had to get married, and the music is secular not Christian.