Unconditional was released in 2012 on a limited basis. It tells the story of a young woman, Samantha Crawford. Sam, as she’s called, lives on a ranch with her husband Billy. They are living the life they always dreamed of having. He is happy with his work as a repairman while she spends her days writing, illustrating, and publishing children’s books.
One day their dreams all come to a tragic end when Billy is murdered by an unknown gunman in a bad neighborhood. Samantha soon loses faith in the system and in God when her husband’s murderer can’t be brought to justice. So, when she reaches her lowest point, Sam decides to end it all by taking her own life.
Before she can go through with it, Sam has a chance meeting with two children that will change her life forever. These two young ones are closely tied to Sam’s best friend from her childhood, Joe (played by Michael Ealy). Joe acts as a teacher, mentor, and caregiver to many of the underprivileged youth in his area. Because he is so kind and loving, all of his kids affectionately call him Papa Joe.
After many years apart, Joe and Sam are finally reunited. Their friendship continued to grow as they each fill in the blanks that time has left open. It is this friendship that proves to be what they both needed to move forward in life to find peace, health, and happiness.
Unconditional is “inspired” by the true events of the life of Joe Bradford. I emphasise the word inspired, because some of the events in this movie didn’t actually happen. Some, well most, of this story is fiction. It’s the actions of Joe and his story that remain mostly true to life.
Regardless of it’s truth or fabrication, Unconditional is still a good movie. I was a little hesitant to watch it, because it came from the recommendation of my lovely wife. It’s not that she is a horrible movie critic (although she loves Norbit, but that’s a story for another day), it’s because she is such a HUGE fan of Michael Ealy. So, when she told me that it was a good movie, and that I should watch it…my initial reaction was: “you only watched that movie because your play-play boyfriend is in it.” She assured me that that was not the case, and that I should watch it anyway with an open mind. To be honest, I’m glad that I did.
Unconditional is a Christian drama which strives to bring people closer to God’s word. Although it’s message is religiously based, it’s not forced onto the viewer. Therefore making it feel more like a positive emotional ride than a lecture on faith and life choices.
This film is not perfect, but it’s definitely something that I suggest watching. It is definitely a movie that you can sit down and watch with your entire family. When you have the time, check it out on Netflix. It will be time well spent.
Verdict: (7/10) ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠
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