On the surface Reconciliation suffers from the same weaknesses that plague most Christian-produced, Christian-targeted films. The performances wouldn't be out of place in a Sunday morning skit; rather than develop naturally, conflicts arise with jarring and clumsy swiftness; and again and again overwrought music montages stand in for real plot and character development. (Note to Christian moviemakers: Filming people silently laughing, crying, and conversing behind the strains of a soaring ballad is not a substitute for writing actual scenes of people laughing, crying, and conversing-do the work!)
But despite its shortcomings, the story of a son reconciling with his estranged father makes a strong case that while the church cannot compromise biblical standards, when it comes to homosexuality Christ calls us to do more than protest pop culture and engage in political debate. We are to dine with tax collectors, befriend adulteresses, and make disciples of those who struggle with same-sex attraction. We cannot do that without love, and we cannot love without relationship.
In showing such relationships, writer/director Chad Ahrendt doesn't shy away from depicting the gay persona as we've seen it before in countless television shows and movies-only here it's not intended to be funny. And when accusations of hate and brainwashing start flying at a pastor counseling a man who wants to leave the gay lifestyle, we get a pretty honest depiction of the challenges this generation of Christians has to confront to deal lovingly with issues past generations could not have imagined.
Ahrendt occasionally airbrushes facts in order to maintain an atmosphere of acceptance-when it is revealed that a gay male character contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion rather than sex, the movie pushes the bounds of statistical probability to its breaking point. But this is a fairly minor quibble for a film that makes a real attempt to help believers who have never been tempted by this particular sin understand and bear the burdens of those for whom it is a daily battle.