Friday, April 13, 2018

Watchman Pictures ~ Princess Cut DVD (Review)

While my daughter was home from college for Spring Break we made time to watch a DVD from Watchman Pictures, Princess Cut, that I had received for review. Promoted as a Romantic "Family Film," I was definitely more comfortable watching it with my daughter than I would have been with my tween and teen sons.

The cinematography is nicely done. The story?  Well, I personally think it could use a little work. While I appreciate much of the message of the film, there are some little details and inconsistencies that could have been refined. I will also note that it comes from a strongly Patriarchal point of view.

Short Synopsis:
The basic premise of the film is that Grace, a farm-grown college girl is dreaming of perhaps the infamous "Ring by Spring" as she has been dating a fellow for 15 months. She has apparently been through some previous relationships that didn't work out, but she's convinced that her current beau is going to present her with a "Princess Cut" ring at a special dinner he's arranged. When it turns out not to be a romantic proposal, but more a celebration with his college buddies and announcement of his engagement to someone else, Grace is understandably upset, and laments that there is no one out there for her.

Her little brother introduces some comedy into the story by surreptitiously placing a "want ad" in the paper which produces a parade of amusing, but unlikely suitors to her door.

Grace's mother is a bit of an enigma, her Father is caring but troubled by the status of the family farm, her best friend is a bad influence, a new neighbor is (thankfully) a doctor whose services are required during one tense scene, a new romantic interest pushes Grace to ignore her convictions (which I may or may not agree with, but the boyfriend pressuring her definitely brings up the opportunity to converse about acceptable behaviour and mental manipulation, no matter how minor the infraction).  Throughout the film there were some scenes that I felt were trying to connect some dots, but I never really saw the bigger picture. It is pretty obvious, however, that this movie promotes courtship based relationships, with parental approval.

Little details that got lost or were confusing~ 
  • There is a huge college project that gets ruined~ big part of a scene, but we never find out what happens with that. With my Art Ed major college student watching with me, we BOTH wanted to know how that was resolved. 
  • There is a blond girl who shows up at the beginning of the film, but then isn't seen until much later~ I understand that it was perhaps a bit of foreshadowing. However, I thought she was a different character, which ended up being very confusing to me when she did eventually show up. 
  • Grace's family are soybean farmers, and they end up picking the beans by hand into baskets. At a certain point, they just leave the baskets in the field, as a machine starts working... Ack! Pick up the baskets before they get crushed ~ or don't show the machine working, and leave it entirely to our imagination. A minor thing, but it bothered me. 
  • .... when a ring does show up, is it a "Princess Cut" ring? That's a detail that would have wrapped things up nicely, but we don't know the answer to that question. 

Deeper Issues and some general commentary about some of the themes:
A note about the 2nd blond I mentioned~ she is supposedly Grace's best friend. This is one place where I felt the film was inconsistent with the values it was trying to portray. It is implied that they have been best friends for a LONG time, not just since college. If Grace's parents were as conservative as suggested, I think they would have helped to steer Grace away from this unhealthy friendship while she was of an age to be fully under their influence. The friend is a bit of a troubled wild-child who gives very ungodly advice. I realistically know there will be other influences in an adult child's life, but in this particular family, I felt that the dynamic wasn't terribly believable.

If you are on the extremely conservative end of things and/or fall in the Patriarchal/Courting camp as I mentioned earlier, this film may suit your family admirably. However, those who don't fall into that camp will possibly take issue with the dynamic between Grace and her father, given her age. I will also note that if you are unfortunate enough not to live in an intact family unit (due to any number of circumstances, including death of a husband), the patriarchal tone of this film may not be something you will enjoy.

I certainly believe that a mother and father's job of "parenting" never ends, that offering guidance, and watching out for the best interests of their children is always the right and healthy thing to do, and I personally don't think it matters if they are a daughter or a son. However, at a certain point, the parent also needs to understand when their children are adults, that while guidance may still be offered, it won't necessarily be taken. Just like when they were little and we couldn't save them from every scraped knee or elbow, we can't always save them from the school of hard knocks as young adults either, no matter how much we hope to.

Young Adults ~ Sharing not Hiding
Parents ~ Advising not Instructing
Both~ Discussing
Communication {both ways} is key to healthy relationships

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, there * are * some good messages and themes. The discussion guide on the Princess Cut Resource page is actually really good, and each point is worth discussing with your young adults (Older teens+) BEFORE they get involved in any romantic relationships~ a few of the themes, with my thoughts:
  • (2,3)God's wisdom and direction should be sought ~ before undertaking any relationship it's important to seek His guidance in prayer and the word
  • (4) Parents should be honored ~ seek out their wisdom, honor their opinions
  • (5) Pure, Godly friendships should be cultivated ~ good advice and peer pressure (if you will) to do the right thing
  • (6)His timing should be waited on ~ don't push for a relationship before its time
  • (7) The way a family (yours and theirs) is spoken about by a romantic interest should be noticed~ is the conversation honoring or disparaging? 
I believe the intent behind Princess Cut is good, but I, unfortunately, have to say once again, that while the filming was good, this story could have used some refining and possibly different directing. As is, I feel it isn't quite up to the standard that I have been seeing in today's Christian Films.
  • Company: Watchman Pictures
  • Product: Princess Cut
  • Ages: Older teens would be my recommendation
  • Price: $9.99
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