Letters to God – Movie Review

Letters to God – Movie Review

By: Stacey Tuttle

With most movies, it takes a little creative thinking to find the natural intersections of faith and culture hidden within.  Letters to God requires no such creative thinking.  The only creativity required for this movie will be in trying to get non-Christians to be interested in seeing it as the movie makes no apologies for its bold commitment to faith and evangelism. 

The movies centers around a family who has been struck by tragedy and heartache.  The husband/father has died and now the younger of two sons has an aggressive, ugly form of brain cancer.  All the family members are devout believers in God, though the mother is, understandably, wrestling deeply with God’s will.  She says in a moment of passionate honesty, “I don’t agree with God’s will.”  Her frustrated confession helps keep the movie from feeling too platitudinal and simplistic by just being honest. 

The title, Letters to God, is derived from the young cancer patient, Tyler,  who not only writes letters to God, but sticks a stamp on them and puts them in the mail.  This obviously causes some perplexity for the mailman who wonders just exactly what he ought to do with them.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem right to shred a young boy’s letters to God! 

When others in the story are having a hard time praying and talking to God, Tyler encourages them to write down their prayers in a letter.  He says, “It’s like texting your best friend.” He has complete confidence that God reads his letters (and consequently hears his prayers).  Both Tyler’s faith and his letters end up making a profound impact on the community around him.

The movie tackles a lot of big topics: prayer, tragedy, God’s will, redemption, salvation, jealousy and resentment, purpose, and so forth.    The over-arching message though is that believers should be making a difference in the world around them.  Obviously, Tyler makes a difference in pretty much every one’s life.  However, he is not the only one.  The super at the post office has a profound sense of responsibility to the staff that report to him, saying about one derelict employee, “I think there may be something worth saving in him yet” (not a direct quote).  Tyler’s grandmother is able to help encourage Tyler’s older brother as he wrestles with the way Tyler’s all-consuming illness has affected both the family and his own life.  And Cornelius Perryfield, Samantha’s “grumpy” grandfather, helps Tyler see some purpose in his suffering, to cite a few examples. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • Do you struggle to “agree with God’s will”?
  • Do you believe that God hears (or reads) your prayers?
  • Do you see a purpose to the points of suffering in your life?
  • What is the sphere of influence God has place you in, and are you purposeful about making a difference in it?
  • Do you believe that God really changes lives, or is it only wishful thinking?
  • Do you believe that God could use you to make a difference in the world?