‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Movie Review: A strong family message can’t save this faith based film
Based on the book by Tracy Leininger Craven, a Descendant to the main characters in the film, Alone Yet Not Alone follow immigrants who arrive in America during the bloody French and Indian War which had just begun. The title is a strong Evangelical message linked to a song the mother teaches her daughters: no matter how alone you feel, even at death’s door, you are not alone because of you relationship with God.
It is totally unfair to compare the film to the other recent faith based films (Heaven Is For Real, God’s Not Dead) as Alone Yet Not Alone tells an untold story of history as much as it attempts to encourage and inspire. Other than a George Washington cameo, small scene for Benjamin Franklin, most Americans are oblivious to this period in America’s history.
The Leininger arrives to America in 1755, just as the British reject a partnership with the local Delaware Tribe of Indians and forcing the Natives to join the French brigades and attack the “white men” settling on their land. Ripped from historical record, the accounts here are brutal, insensitive and don’t paint the indigenous tribes as much more than savages. Barbara and Regina Leininger survive the attack on their home, but now are separated and held captive by the Indians for years.
History supports the story (which is actually less violent than actual events (read more HERE) as the slaughter across the frontier was perpetuated by the bureaucracy and incompetence of the leaders of the day.
Life with the Natives required assimilation and Alone Yet Not Alone details this account for Barbara and her friend Marie. From simply coloring their skin and hair to worshiping their Gods, Barbara is forced to face the challenge of leaving her old self behind or risk death by attempting an escape.
The film is wrought with a ton of issues, but has a strong message of family unity, commitment to God and encouragement for the faithful. Alone is a small budget project in the vein of The Last of the Mohicans, also filmed in North Carolina, attempting to reveal the polarizing truth of Indian culture.
Overtly clean uniforms and boats, the tribe’s use of perfect English and some really anti-climactic moments keep Alone from ever rising to something great. Audiences journey years with Barbara, but the Indians don’t appear to have aged a day. Barbara seemed willing to concede her heritage and marry the Chief’s son, but it was family (their death) and not God which was the real tipping point to her decisions late in the film – very contradictory to the theme of the film.
This is no Last of the Mohicans and the audience may feel this is very anti-Native American, but the harsh reality of history reveals a more brutal and disturbing truth: the deaths in the film were ten times worse in real life with the dismembering of bodies, cannibalism and brutality.
Alone Yet Not Alone, the song, was embroiled in Oscar nomination controversy (read the bottom half of this article) is the star of the film. I wish the characters has sung a portion of hummed more of the tune in a couple of other scenes, but many will leave the theaters with the song playing in their heads.
Period films are not for everyone and Alone plods along a bit more than most.
Overall Alone Yet Not Alone receives 2 stars out of 5
For Christians eager to have another clean film to take the family to see, start a conversation about faith or teach their family more about the struggles of American history without witnessing violence and profanity – add a star, the film is free from offensive content.
In fact, on a side note, the sexual references in the trailers preceding our screening out numbered everything remotely objectionable in Alone Yet Not Alone.
“Ancestor” instead of “Descendant” in error – BBJ, The Disptach