GOD BLESS THE CHILD (1988)

Movie Info

General Info

Rating
Not Rated
Run Time
1 hour 33 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Violence
1 / 10
Language
1 / 10
Sex / Nudity
1 / 10
Star Rating
★★★★★

Relevant Quotes

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the statutes and commandments of the Lord, which I command you this day for your good?...Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt."

— Deuteronomy 1¬0:12-20

Movie Review

DVD:
Larry Elikann
Version:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095227/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On March 18, 2020
Last modified:March 18, 2021

Summary:

The wrenching story of a mother ditched by her husband ,evicted, & when facing illness and job loss has to decide what to do with the girl.

A Film Guide   

This 1988 made for television film provides a haunting look at the life of a homeless family, one equaled only by The Saint of Fort Washington (see the Sept. issue for a guide to this excellent production). Theresa Johnson (Mare Winningham) and her young daughter Hillary (Grace Johnston) are forced out of their low rent apartment when the demolition crew arrive with their

bulldozers and wrecking balls. Theresa works at a menial hotel job, so she has no spare funds for the deposit and advance rent required for another place, and her husband has long since vanished. Her pleas for “a temporary place” to a friendly woman and her co-workers are turned down. Thus she and her daughter turn to the harrowing shelter system. Its hours and rules are rigid, as are those of her workplace. Unable to mesh these with those of Hillary’s school, Theresa soon loses her job, causing the two to sink even lower into the homeless quagmire. Even the well-intention efforts of a church-based social worker are of only temporary help. This incredibly powerful film should be seen by every church member, especially those who would blame the victims in the on-going debate over welfare and related issues.

For Reflection/Discussion

  1. Theresa and Hillary go to see the woman to appeal to her to give them a few nights shelter. How would you feel if someone you knew only slightly made such a request of you? For what reasons would you say “Yes” or “No”? What changes would complying with such a request make in your schedule and lifestyle? What does the woman to salve her conscience? How about ourselves?
  2. How might you feel the first time applying for a bed at a shelter? What questions would you have? Why are the two almost turned away? (What do such rules force street persons to do when answering questions and filling out forms the system requires?
  3. What do you think of the delays at the welfare office © and the lament, “I can’t get a place unless I have a job, and I can’t get a job unless I have a place”?
  4. Describe Calvin Reed. How is his faith an embodiment of Deuteronomy 10:12-20 and James !:27 and 2:14-17? Comment/reflect upon his two statements: “Poverty is like a disease. It grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go!” and, after hearing a newscast about ICBMs, “If they’d give me enough just for one of those (misses), I could feed more people than it could kill.”
  5. Why was the African American family injected into Theresa and Hillary’s story? What do they have going for themselves that Theresa and Hillary don’t? What does young Ray learn from the talk with his father? What do you think of a welfare system that gives rise to the father’s comment, “Your mother gets a welfare check because I’m not there. I’m worth more to her gone…”?
  6. How is Hillary’s hospital experience more than an ordinary ordeal for her mother? What must all the events since their first eviction be doing to Theresa’s spirit and soul? How does this show in her plea and comment to Calvin, “People look at us like we’re trash”?
  7. How is Theresa’s decision to abandon her daughter a sign of great love, even of a little crucifixion? (Compare to John 15:13.) If you were in Calvin’s place, would you have tried to talk her out of her plan– or what? What do you think will be Hillary’s reaction if she ever learns the real reason why her mother left her? What might the locket come to mean to her through the years? What do the blue Mardi Gras beads mean to Theresa? What do you think will become of the mother?
  8. What do you learn about yourself and your own home and family from this film? What insights into poverty and its victims have you received? Can you accept as readily the hasty judgments of society, as reflected by so many politicians, on the poor? How does this film show that our society itself is poor in soul and spirit? What can we do in the face of such enormous problems by individuals; churches; other agencies; governments?
  9. Where do you see God in the story of Theresa and Hillary?

Trinity Home Entertainment

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The wrenching story of a mother ditched by her husband ,evicted, & when facing illness and job loss has to decide what to do with the girl.

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