I Can Only Imagine (Movie Review) – Based on a true story based on MercyMe’s lead singer Bart Millard who wrote the song and how he came up with the song. See how I reviewed this I Can Only Imagine and watch the trailer.
I Can Only Imagine (Movie Review)
There might be some info in this review that may also be a spoiler for the movie.
About the Movie
Both Erwin brothers, along with the film’s cast and crew, gathered in Oklahoma City, OK for a 26-day location shoot aimed at a spring 2018 release. It was the Erwins’ third collaboration with producing partner Kevin Downes. “What I’m most excited about is people seeing this who have never heard the story.” Downes said. “This is a powerful story that I believe is going to bring hope to people all over the world.” Interestingly, the Erwins’ opportunity to tell Bart’s story actually came about because of one of their other films.
It’s the song that brings ultimate hope to so many … often in the midst of life’s most challenging moments. Amazingly, the song was written in mere minutes by MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard. In reality, those lyrics took a lifetime to craft.
Although he found faith at a young age, life wasn’t easy for Bart. He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father. But a career-ending injury—combined with the vision of a teacher who saw unlimited potential—set Bart on a musical pathway.
Chasing a dream while running from broken relationships with his father and Shannon, his childhood sweetheart, Bart hits the road in an old, decrepit tour bus with his new band MercyMe—named for his grandmother’s favorite expression. With the guidance of a grizzled music-industry insider, the band begins a journey none of them could ever have imagined.
Directed by the Erwin Brothers (October Baby, Moms’ Night Out, and Woodlawn), I CAN ONLY IMAGINE stars J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Trace Adkins, Priscilla Shirer, with Cloris Leachman and Dennis Quaid.
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
- J. MICHAEL FINLEY as Bart Millard
- MADELINE CARROLL as Shannon
- DENNIS QUAID as Arthur Millard
- TRACE ADKINS as Brickell
- PRISCILLA SHIRER as Mrs. Fincher
- CLORIS LEACHMAN as Memaw
About Bart Millard
Bart Millard, best known as the front man of award-winning Christian group MercyMe, is also an acclaimed songwriter and artist in his own right. The iconic song “I Can Only Imagine,” written solely by Millard, made history in 2014 as it surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. A major motion picture titled I CAN ONLY IMAGINE depicts Bart’s story behind the song is scheduled to release in the spring of 2018. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s “Word Of God Speak,” co-written by Millard, the No. 1 Song of The Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories.
The songwriting talents of Millard and his fellow band members have made MercyMe a radio mainstay, yielding 28 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream hits. Not only has MercyMe won numerous GMA Dove awards, several American Music Awards, and received multiple GRAMMY® and Billboard Music Award nominations, but Millard himself received a GRAMMY nomination for his solo project Hymned Again, a follow up to his first successful solo outing, Hymned. MercyMe released their ninth studio album, LIFER, in March 2017 which includes yet another chart-topping hit “Even If.”
This is my take and review of the movie I Can Only Imagine.
I enjoyed watching this true story about the song, I Can Only Imagine, and songwriter … Bart Millard. You will enjoy watching his story. Yes, there are some very bad moments in his life. I do believe those things God always uses. What man means for evil, God has good to come out of it.
The song the movie is based on is very inspiring to many people. Including my wife, she plans to share her story on her blog, SimplySpokn. I know this film will impact many more people too!
I even Cried!
Yes, I will admit, there was moments I cried. So when you go see this movie, bring some extra Kleenex with you. You just might need it! I felt like I was in on his life, like I was a fly on the wall as the story of Bart’s life and how he came up with the song I Can Only Imagine.
Plus, you get to see how the band MercyMe came along … Thanks to Bart’s Memaw.
I will warn there is some domestic abuse scenes in this movie. No bad language was noticed on my part. I do believe the acting was very good in the movie. Even the story line and how it was told kept me wanting to watch more and wanting to get closer and closer.
The movie had a different type of flow to it. You would go to one scene of Bart talking about his past and then it goes to where you see it being relived. I thought that was a neat way of doing it. So the cinematography I thought was done well.
Movie Hit Me
I think this movie hit me some because I have an estranged relationship with my earthly father. He has not been a part of my life. However, I have choose to forgive him. He doesn’t have to answer to me in the end. He answers to God. I just pray he comes to know the Lord one day.
On March 23, 2018, I went and rewatched I Can Only Image with my daughter. I paid for our tickets. I think this time it was more emotional for me, that might be because I know what happens already watching the screener. After the movie, a group of older ladies said that was really good. My daughter said she really enjoyed the movie. So there you go! It is a must see!
I give I Can Only Imagine two thumbs up!
One for each hand! I really enjoyed I Can Only Imagine. I do highly recommend everyone to watch it.
Quotes & Memes
Below are some quotes from the movie.
Forgiveness is very important!
That quote Mercy Me that can’t be his real voice that Memaw said, I didn’t catch the first time watching. I caught it the second time when I was in the theater.
What are some of your favorite quotes form the movie? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Below are some other people who recommend this movie and what they had to say. I totally agree with these endorsements too.
Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Governor
“This is an inspiring movie and true story that provides a powerful, faith-filled message of overcoming life’s challenges, taking risks, and hope for a better future. The song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ has been heard all over the world. This is a must-see movie.”
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family
“It doesn’t matter what odds a man faces in being a great dad—there’s always hope, and this film models forgiveness and restoration between fathers and sons better than any I’ve seen. Whether you think you’ve got it all together as a dad or are certain you’re a mess, this is a movie that has the power to inspire you to want to be there for your family.”
Ken Canfield PhD, Founder of The National Center for Fathering
“This movie is a reminder that we need to be honest, passionate and humble in every relationship. I heartily recommend it.”
Mark Merrill, President, Family First
“I CAN ONLY IMAGINE is more than a movie about a song. It is an incredible story of God healing a broken relationship between a father and a son.”
Set for theaters for March 16, 2018. The movie is rated PG.
More info at:
I was given an online screener version with intro to watch to do this movie review. This is my unbiased review of the movie. Info taken from Movie, Website and the Press Releases.