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I Can Only Imagine - Film Review

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
The inspiration of music, friendship and forgiveness
This film is based around personal transformation. A biography of Christian rock singer Bart Millard, more specifically the inspiration behind the title of his bestselling song 'I can only imagine'.

I Can Only Imagine - Facebook page image
I Can Only Imagine - Facebook page image


We are introduced to Bart as an eleven-year-old on his dragster bicycle visiting his Grandma. His love of fixing things and music is established early, as his dire home life. His house is filled with domestic violence and loud arguments.

The happy memories come from going to a summer camp where he is introduced to what will be become his three great loves in life. His friend Shannon, music via Amy Grant and U2 and his belief in God.

Biopic film of Bart Millard - image via I Can Only Imagine Facebook page
Biopic film of Bart Millard - image via I Can Only Imagine Facebook page


This is well filmed and acted with the standout performance coming from Dennis Quaid as Bart's bitter and abusive alcoholic father. Bart cannot wait to leave this home, just as his mother had done when Bart was young.

The reconciliation between Bart and his family and friends, particularly his father is the centre point of the story. There is hope and redemption to be found.

Dennis Quaid stars in I Can Only Imagine - image via Facebook page
Dennis Quaid stars in I Can Only Imagine - image via Facebook page


Despite knowing where the story is going, there is an emotional build-up to the films climatic moments. Bart is the unlikely boy who is destined to succeed, played by newcomer Michael Finley. Trace Atkins as the band manager also puts in a solid performance.



This is a slice of Midwest America in the mid-eighties. Music is heard on cassettes and radio is king. The film loosely falls into the category of a Faith film but has deservedly been given a mainstream release and has been receiving great reviews.

An inspirational film that shows the power of forgiveness.
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Why? An inspirational film that shows the power of forgiveness.
When: In cinemas now
Where: In cinemas now
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