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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Courage, New Hampshire

I have some old friends in California who run a Revolutionary War reenactment, and they've recently decided to start making godly movies that portray bits of historical fiction set in America's early days. Their first in the “Courage, New Hampshire,” series is called, “The Travail of Sarah Pine,” and I was very excited to get to watch it recently. Mr. Riley, of Riley'sFarm and Colony Bay Productions, asked me to review the movie on my blog, so here I am—somewhat belated, but finally sitting down to write.

The website's summary reads: In the winter of 1770, the township of Courage lies on the raw edge of the frontier, in western New Hampshire. When a detachment of British soldiers arrive in search of deserters, they fail to catch their quarry, but one of them does catch the eye of the justice of the peace. Sergeant Bob Wheedle, of the 29th Regiment, was here a year before — and he left something behind.”

Sarah Pine, an unmarried young woman in the township, steps forward when Sgt. Wheedle returns, and claims him as the father of her baby daughter. He learns that Sarah considers herself bound to him in marriage, and that she has been trusting in God to bring her husband back to her.

I dearly love my friends at Riley's Farm, and I applaud what they're doing—I can definitely call this first episode a noble effort. The screenplay needs some work, as most of the story was conveyed through sit-down conversations instead of action scenes, but that only takes practice. I do have a few issues with the story, though.

Sarah Pine is a deluded woman. She understands something I believe is correct—this man made a covenant with her when he fathered her child. However, she doesn't seem to have any concept of the shame in her situation, and the township fosters this attitude in her by putting all of the blame of that night onto Sgt. Wheedle. He is the one tried for fornication, she is only called forth as a witness. She is “a good girl who made a mistake,” whose honor everyone is trying to protect—and my question is, what honor? The honor she let go for the false promises of Sgt. Bob?
Satan deceived Eve, but Eve still followed him and she bore the consequences of her actions. Sarah Pine was tricked by a man with less-than-honorable intentions, but she did consent to his wishes. In my opinion, Sarah's “mistake” should have been taken much more seriously than it was.

Bob's side is redemptive, if simplistic—he is pronounced not guilty, but he goes back and asks Sarah to marry him anyways. Sarah is only proven correct in her predictions that this is what he'd do, because it's what he told her he'd do in the beginning and she's believed it all along.

In conclusion, I thank Colony Bay for even writing a story that involves punishment for fornication—a sin which the modern American culture deems completely acceptable. But I think they got it slightly off-balance. I look forward to seeing how they've improved in the next episode.

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