The Austin Chronicle

Conversations With God

Rated PG, 109 min. Directed by Stephen Simon. Starring Henry Czerny, Ingrid Boulting, T. Bruce Page, Vilma Silva, Crystal Dawne, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Zillah Glory.

REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Oct. 27, 2006

The bestselling self-help book Conversations With God is the kind of feel-good treacle that seems to come around every few years to inspire an entire nation full of seekers and lost souls and then vanish again into the ether, only to be replaced by a different Oprah-approved spiritual guidebook. Conversations With God the movie probably shouldn’t have been made, or if it had to be, it should have happened years ago, when the book was at the height of its popularity, and maybe some real money could have been thrown into it. As it stands, this humble (in budget, not theological ambition) little movie plays out like a Hallmark movie of the week, full of simple life-affirming lessons about a generous, forgiving God and the redemptive possibilities of love and charity. Czerny (Mission: Impossible, The Ice Storm) stars as Neale Donald Walsch, a down-on-his-luck transient whose life is turned upside down when he hears the voice of God speaking to him one night. Turns out God has been listening to Walsch’s questions and complaints over the years and he wants the chance to respond. Which he does, generously, with a seemingly endless supply of corny aphorisms and self-help platitudes. When a reborn Neale turns these conversations into a book, publishers come from out of the woodwork to release it, and hungry souls from all corners start looking to him for answers. Corny and harmless, Conversations With God is a humanistic little movie with a real belief in the power of redemption and a positive enough message: “Love is the answer.” Or: “Go to your Godspace.” Whichever speaks more clearly to you.

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.