Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Alone Yet Not Alone

I first heard about this film when the title song was nominated for an Academy Award for best song, then abruptly dropped. But I didn’t watch the trailer until today, and it immediately struck me how similar this story is to our ancestors’. Alone Yet Not Alone is scheduled for a limited release in June. Below is a synopsis of the storyline.

Alone Yet Not Alone tells the inspiring true story of Barbara and Regina Leininger and their journey of faith and survival during the French and Indian war in 1755. Fleeing religious persecution in Germany, the Leininger family seeks a new start in America. It is the mid-1700s and British and French forces are struggling for control of the abundant resources of this new territory.

Despite the escalating tension mounting around them, the Leiningers give thanks and praise for the sparkling streams and majestic forests around Penns Creek and above all, their freedom to worship. Carving out a homestead is arduous work, but the Leiningers labor joyfully. After all, what the land will not yield, the cherished family Bible would, providing the everlasting nourishment of God’s promise. 

Then the unthinkable happens. In a terrifying raid on their homestead, Delaware warriors capture the two young Leininger daughters and transport them across 300 miles of wilderness to Ohio. The sisters are sustained only by their abiding trust in God, and their hope of escape against all odds to be reunited with their family.

You’ll find the video trailer at the bottom of this blog. According to the description of the young-adult book by Tracy Leininger Craven, on which the movie is based, this family was also German and also settled along the Blue Mountain, as did our ancestors. This true incident, known as the Penn’s Creek Massacre, happened in the fall of 1755, at the beginning of the French and Indian War and almost exactly two years before the Northkill attack. You can find the book on Amazon

Below is the very positive Dove review of the movie. I’m anxious to see Alone Yet Not Alone not only because it sounds like an exciting and inspiring story, but also to see how it compares with our ancestors’ experience, how it develops the theme of this family’s faith, and how it portrays Native Americans. In my next post I’m going to share my thoughts on the latter topic in the video and book, an issue that Bob and I will be dealing with more deeply in book 2 of our series, The Return, as we depict our ancestors’ lives among their captors.

Dove Review

The film opens with a calming musical soundtrack and gorgeous landscapes. We learn that the time period is 1755 when America was considered a haven for families seeking freedom to worship in a land of opportunity. Barbara Leininger and her family just moved to Pennsylvania. They have a cabin in the woods and her father often reads from the family Bible. He tells the family that even during tests and trials God will never leave them nor forsake them.

As her mother and brother leave on a trip, Indians break in their home with devastating consequences. Barbara and Regina flee to the woods and are soon caught by the Indians. Barbara must remember her father’s words about God never leaving her because she is soon separated from her sister and taken captive. The Indians taunt her by dying her fair skin dark and her golden hair black. She tries to escape but eventually decides to be agreeable while keeping hope alive that she will one day be freed and reunited with her sister, mother and brother. The years pass and she grows into a woman but she keeps her faith in God, even witnessing to the Indian brave who wants to be her husband.

This film has it all! The music is wonderful, the cinematography is inspiring, the acting is superb and the screenplay and direction are top notch. Both Kelly Greyson as the older Barbara and Natalie Racoosin as a young Barbara are exceptional in their roles. The movie is based on a true story taken from the novel of the same name written by Tracy Leininger Craven.

This film has a bit of everything: action, drama, suspense and a fine ending. For those who love action, there are several battle sequences and fights, with many characters dying by tomahawks or muskets. Fortunately, there is little blood overall and the scenes are not gratuitous. It appears that the director held back enough so the film could be enjoyed by families without losing the intensity of the story. We commend this decision.

Without giving away the ending, it is worth noting that God’s promise to never leave nor forsake Barbara is clearly demonstrated in this story. The themes of this movie include loyalty, perseverance, forgiveness and the profound love of God. We are quite pleased to award this film five Doves, our highest rating. Watching this movie is time well spent!


Lori Benton said...

I'm very interested in seeing this movie, with some of the same issues in mind as you mention, Joan. I will be very keen to see how they are handled. I didn't realize it was based on a book, and now I'm going to read that as well.

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Lori, I was excited when I saw it is based on a book. It's YA, and it got pretty good reviews, but also criticism for some of the issues mentioned in my post. The sample I downloaded onto my Kindle looks pretty good, and I'm going to go ahead and buy it as soon as I have time to do some reading.

Amy C said...

I can't wait to see this movie! It was filmed in my hometown. :)

J. M. Hochstetler said...

That's so cool, Amy! Were you able to see any of the actors or watch as they did some of the filming? That would be so interesting!