It’s a particularly uncomfortable experience to watch something clearly intended as a memorial to its subject’s Christian goodness, but which instead turns icky and exploitative. That subject is Rachel Joy Scott (Masey McLain), the first victim of 1999 Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, in a story focused on the final year of her life, during which she struggles with integrating her renewed Christian faith into her typical teen challenges. McLain brings a bouncy Anna-Kendrick-understudy appeal to the role, even as much of the rest of the production feels like outtakes from a Freeform TV series. But Rachel’s emotional ricochets—including contemplating suicide—make it hard not to feel that the film is somehow suggesting that mental illness can be beaten simply by believing in God harder. And as the screenplay repeatedly drops in foreshadowing (“Why can’t I see my future?” Rachel muses at one point) and glimpses of Harris and Klebold planning their attack, the impending doom ultimately overwhelms whatever the filmmakers are trying to say about how to respond to other people’s cruelty, and being a light unto the world.
Director: Brian Baugh
Producer: Chuck Howard, Brad Allen, Martin Michael, Nise Davies, Benny Proffitt and Beth Nimmo
Cast: Masey McLain, Ben Davies, Sadie Robertson, Korie Robertson, Bella Robertson, Jaci Velasquez, Matthew Schuler, Nancy Stafford, Jennifer O'Neill, Terri Minton, Cameron McKendry and Emma Roberts