I was provided with a free copy of this movie from FamilyChristian.com in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
I’m always on the look-out for charming movies that are relatively clean but aren’t too cheesy. So when I got the opportunity to review Mr. What for Family Christian.com, I was pleased to take them up on that offer!
This movie opens with a middle-aged man clearly in prison but he is soon released. We learn that his name is Mattiesko Wuopio but he goes by the name Mr. What. The reason? When people hear him say his name, their response is “what?” (I don’t know, it made me laugh.)
We also learn that Mr. What has been in prison for a bit more than 22 years for a crime he didn’t commit. People lied and he got prison time. Upon his release, he moves to a tiny town in Michigan where no one seems to know him and he’s even stopped by the police as soon as he gets to town.
It turns out that his father lives in that town and is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mr What visits his father and how he relates to the man is incredibly endearing.
It seems like everywhere he goes, Mr. What is treated with suspicion. The exception is the young son of the woman he is renting a house from. This boy also knows what it means to be misunderstood and mistreated and the two formed a bond.
The story is supposed to be about redemption, trust and stereotypes. Or better yet, how we create stereotypes in our head based on our own pain. It ends with miracles that demonstrate the healing that takes place throughout the movie and I got teary-eyed!
I would say that overall this movie accomplished the above goal. However, I was a little frustrated in the redemption aspect. This may seem strange to say about a faith-based movie, but I would have expected more anger and rage from Mr. What.
Why? He lost more than 20 years because people lied. I’m sure he was mistreated in prison. He was trying to make the best of his situation and his appreciation of freedom was clear. But I felt like it went straight to the appreciation and missed the part where he had to come to terms with what he lived through.
I know that traditional Hollywood would have made the entire movie about his rage and that’s not healthy either. But to glaze over it like that felt false and almost dismissive of the human need to have that emotion during the grieving process.
My favorite part of this entire movie was the relationship between the boy and Mr. What. They just got each other and it was a healthy friendship where they helped each other heal from their respective pain.
Now for a few notes about the production/content that viewers might want to know:
- The production quality is low but not horrible. The acting is not fantastic but it feels more like you’re talking to real people not actors performing.
- This movie is clean, but I agree with Dove’s rating that it’s for 12 and up. There’s some domestic violence portrayed and the Alzheimer’s symptoms could be scary for small children. Small children also might not understand some of the relationship nuances and it could be confusing.
- The soundtrack is beautiful and simple with mostly guitar and piano throughout the movie. Much of it is Mr. What singing and he has a soft, beautiful voice. I could listen to that voice around a campfire (or anywhere) for hours.
- As I’ve said, the relationship between Mr. What and the boy is great.
- This movie, while it has some tough subjects, sets what I see as a perfect backdrop to broach tough subjects with kids. How would they feel if this happened to them? How do they handle bullies?
While this movie won’t win Oscars (that almost wins it more points in my book these days), it is a meaningful family movie that I think older kids and adults alike can enjoy. I plan to watch it again soon!
Now, for the giveaway!