Priceless online movie review - A Wonderful Film... with a few hiccups
Disclaimer: I read the novelization prior to seeing the film. I have to admit I was dying to see this film after it previewed earlier this year during the WinterJam Tour Spectacular.
The overall message of the film is great, and it is nowhere near the preachy, stuffy mess that bogs down most others like it--and this coming from a believer who loves those movies in spite of their flaws. The acting is superb, and the music, including a re- recording of fK&C's hit song "Priceless", the inspiration for the film, soars. Unfortunately, the film does fall a little short-- some scenes seem rushed and as though they were not meant to fit together. There are also several details and a few key plot points which were left out of the film, presumably to give it a 2 hr. run time. I also saw some critical reviews which accuse the film of watering down the issue of human trafficking for the sex trade, with which I now partially agree despite the understanding that it needed to be watered down in order to both maintain a PG- 13 rating and remain a family-friendly title.I left the theater feeling as though I had not been told the whole story of Antonia and her sister Maria, at least not in a way that made sense for the film to leave as was. As I left the theater, I did so desperately hoping it does well enough to warrant a worldwide theatrical release, and even (dare I utter it) a sequel to fill in some of the inescapable plot holes left at the film's conclusion. The Best of the best? Joel Smallbone's wrenching portrayal of James, a good man who has made mistakes following tragic losses. Bianca A. Santos' Antonia is instantly relatable and classic--a Latina who has no trust for men and whose only loyalty is to her 16 year old sister Maria (played to near perfection by Amber Midthunder). However, some of the other acting feels a bit too good for the situation, and the plot felt as if it were jumping through hoops at times to meet with the demand of the story while neglecting certain other aspects which might have led to better character development. The film also makes attempts at a "light at the end of the tunnel" scenario, something it ultimately executes quite well. At its core, Priceless is still a film worth seeing. It's one I believe needs to be shown to most modern day girls so that they understand their self worth in a way that can never be taught properly without examples like the ones given by Antonia and Maria.