Monday, June 10, 2013

DVD Review: The Confession

The Confession directed by Michael Landon, Jr.
Release Date: September 13, 2001
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Format: DVD, 88 minutes
Based On: The novel by Beverly Lewis

Starring: Katie LeClerc, Sherry Stringfield, Adrian Paul, Cameron Deane Stewart

About the Movie:
This is a sequel to the Hallmark Channel's hit movie, Beverly Lewis' The Shunning, and is based on the second novel of "The Heritage of Lancaster County" trilogy. Raised by an Amish family, Katie Lapp (Katie Leclerc, TV's "Switched at Birth") always felt the call of another life. Now, her quest to find her birth-mother, Laura Mayfield-Bennett(Sherry Stringfield, TV's "ER"), has drawn her into world of the "Englishers."Along the way, two very different men try to help her overcome a devious scheme to steal her rightful inheritance. Business-minded but kind-hearted Justin Wirth (Michael Rupnow) reaches out to discover Katie's hidden secrets, while her childhood companion Daniel Fisher (Cameron Deane Stewart) sacrifices his own happiness for her future. Katie's heart is divided between two worlds as love reveals the truth in the moving saga based on the hit novel from New York Times bestselling author Beverly Lewis.

My Review:

The Confession, directed by Michael Landon, Jr., continues Beverly Lewis' emotional story of Katie Lapp. It will make more sense if you have seen the first film, The Shunning. You need not have read the novel on which the film is based, though. In fact, you might enjoy the film more if you haven't done so. For, as in the first film, the script makes wholesale changes to the novel. For instance, Katie's Mennonite cousins are completely absent, while she instead has an eccentric roommate in New York with whom she waits tables. I won't detail all the changes, but the get go, I found them dizzying. Hubby, who has only seen the films, was not distracted as I was and seemed to enjoy the movie more.

Katie Leclerc does a great job playing Katie Lapp, making the cast change seemless. She looks enough like Danielle Panabaker that you forget it's not the same actress. By the same token, Shelly Stringfield is very good as Laura Mayfield-Bennett, and Adrian Paul is appropriately rotten as Mr. Bennett.
The movie is a completely different experience from the book. Depending on how you feel, this may be a good or a bad thing. At least it will make for more of a surprise if you already know the book!

Unlike the first film, Hickory Hollow has no time to charm you. The majority of the movie is set in the city. I did remember that I didn't approve of the changes with Katie's family and how her shunning was minimalized by the filmmakers. I guess they want to keep her parents on screen, but there was much of the internal drama with Katie's mother that went unexplored. Still, the film is limited based on the need to maintain continuity with the changes that had been made to the original film.

It was harder to find an emotional connection this time than in the previous film. While I cried a couple of times in the first movie, I shed no tears this time. To be sure,  I was a little more than rattled by all the creative changes. The secondary Hickory Hollow storylines from the novel lend a lot of emotional heft, and their removal deprives the film of needed depth. The scenes we do have with the Lapps are pretty much throwaway scenes. Still, a film has only so much time, so I understand the desire to focus on the Katie/birth mother thread.

Like any sequel, not as much time is spent getting to know the character. And that's a shame, because I like Katie so well. But, Leclerc does her justice, and the film does succeed at showing Katie's innocent heart and her confusion and crisis of identity. Though it doesn't end on cliffhanger (or does it?) It doesn't really offer any more closure than the first did. I guess you'll just have to wait for number three!

About Beverly Lewis:
Born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, Beverly Lewis is the New York Times Best-Selling author of more than eighty books.  A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Lewis to write many Amish-related novels.  The first of these novels, The Shunning, has sold over million copies.  In 2007, Lewis was honored with a Christy Award for her novel The Brethren.

The Confession movie on the Web: 

*Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the above DVD for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."