Based on a true story Conversations With God tells the story of Neale Donald Walsch, an average guy who loses his job, gets into an automobile accident and breaks his neck, and finally loses his family to a divorce. It wasn’t long after this tragic chain of events, with his hospital bills rising and nobody wanting to hire a middle-aged man with health problems, that Walsch finally became homeless.
Hitting rock bottom with no prospects for improving his predicament, he begins to audibly question God. Wa…sch claims that God answered him… audibly. While this is a fact that is clearly open to some contention, it certainly makes for compelling storytelling.
My preconceived notions about this disc, which were only furthered by the hokey cover art, were that this would be a Hallmark Original at best. While it certainly has those overwhelmingly wholesome moments, it is actually a very real portrayal of homelessness in America. While homeless persons in the past (and still many today) are the product of a country that doesn’t know how to react to mental illness, a good number of the modern homeless are reasonably intelligent individuals that were overwhelmed by life events, and never found the strength to pull themselves upright again. While this is clearly a spiritual film, it is not one that beats you over the head with the message. It is a surprisingly well-crafted film that manages to find the line between entertainment and message, and treads it fairly deftly.
This disc was created with a very clean soundtrack. Extraneous ambient audio seems to have been removed from the track completely, leaving just the essential audio cues and a stirring score behind. The audio, while sparse, fills the room nicely, while still giving the viewer the same sense of isolation that Walsch felt for so many nights. It is a track that is impressive not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. It forces the viewer to be contemplative, which is really a min part of what the whole film is about.
The video quality here is downright impressive. That’s not to say that this is a disc that you will use to show off your home theater display, only that this does not look like a typical low-budget transfer. Colors are good, and there are no jaggies or pixellation problems that I came across. The film had a soft, romantic feel to it that fit perfectly with the themes of the story. The images are simple and tasteful, just as they should be.
Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing here in the way of special features. This is a film that is just begging for further insight, and the studio has given viewers nothing. Not a commentary, not a brief interview with the real Neale Donald Walsch; nothing.
I would have never dreamed that I would be giving this movie a favorable review, but here I am nevertheless. It would have been nice to have seen the studio throw some more weight behind this disc, though. The shelves are packed full of bad movies with special editions; why couldn’t this movie at least get a commentary by the author? Still, a quality A/V package is nice support for this surprisingly moving film.