Possibly the first film based on a song that I’ve seen, Unanswered Prayers [a Garth Brooks hit] focuses on an All-American couple in the South. It’s a small town where it seems that many end up marrying classmates from high school. Full disclosure: Lifetime press release states that Ben [Eric Close] and Lorrie [Samantha Mathis] are “living the American dream.” A closer look at this dream life is being in debt and close to losing the family business as well as their son having his “best chance at getting a scholarship to school” by playing football, according to his dad. The son is more artistic and has other plans that trying to live out his dad’s failed dreams. That may be middle-Americans dream life but it’s not for me. That’s too domestic and I’m too urban. I need to be surrounded by sirens, people, grit, buildings and museums. Ben’s high school girlfriend, the sultry and thrice-married Ava [Madchen Amick], returns to town due to her mother’s death. Suddenly Ben wonders if he made the right choice in marrying Lorrie and staying around town.
Ben: “You were smart getting out of Dodge.”
Ava: “I’ve lived all over the world, Ben. Dodge is looking pretty good to me.”
Apparently Lorrie had a crush on Ben in the 4th grade [and of course as one grows up we don’t change at all especially when going off to college] and he was the popular jock who didn’t really notice her. Particularly as he was dating Ava, the hot new girl in town. But 20 years later, it’s not that easy to leave the life that one has become comfortable with for one that may or may not have materialized. Apparently these people didn’t change or grow all that much. Not surprisingly, Samantha Mathis puts in the most credible performance. Unanswered Prayers attempts to explore relationships, particularly marriage, but doesn’t really delve that deeply into why Lorrie and Ben are together or why Ben and Ava were such a great couple when they were teens. If I were traditional, I might like this movie more than I did.
Unanswered Prayers premieres Monday, November 29 at 9PM ET/PT on Lifetime Movie Network