BY CHRIS R.
Billy: The Early Years
World Wide Pictures (2008)
Billy: The Early Years is an amazing film that will get your mind thinking, your soul wanting, your heart pounding, and your emotions a workout.
Billy: The Early Years, is a biography of Billy Graham’s life in his early years. His life is a story of great love, triumph, finding God and what He wants for Billy’s life, perseverance, faith, friendship, truth, and strength. Armie Hammer stars in the role of Billy Graham, and co-stars Stefanie Butler as Ruth Bell Graham, Kristoffer Polaha as the young Charles Templeton, and Martin Landeau as the older Charles Templeton.
Armie Hammer did a great job at portraying Billy Graham, from the North Carolina accent, to the hair style and charm, the acting was terrific and extremely believable. Martin Landeau did a superb job at playing Charles Templeton, which was supposed to be when Charles was on his deathbed and suffering from some mental illness. The actions and emotions portrayed from Landeau were very believable, and I wondered if it was the actual Charles, but I did some research and found out that Charles actually died in 2001. With that being said, the acting was superb.
One of the many scenes I found had great impact was when Billy met Ruth for the first time at university while walking up the stairs. Before he met Ruth, he fell deep in love and gave it away to a young woman named Emily, whom he had met at his previous college. Billy went out one night, thinking to himself everything that was going to great that night because they had a dance at the college Billy was attending, and Billy was going to see Emily there and give her a very special corsage that he had bought for her. When Billy arrived at the dance, he had planned to go see Emily, but she was sitting at the table with another guy from the back of the class where Billy and Emily attended. Billy stood there with extreme shock on his face, and was completely puzzled at what was going on and why that had happened. Billy was absolutely astounded, standing there with his corsage he bought for Emily in his hand, hearing Emily tell him that she thought he was a great guy, but she was in love with the other guy. She told Billy she thought he was a really nice guy, but that he wasn’t going to amount to much in life. Crushed, Billy walked away from the gym dance and from the woman he loved, throwing the corsage to the floor. In the next scene, Billy is officially an ordained minister. This shows a really low and hard point in Billy’s life, but then shows his triumph that he received through Christ and sticking with what God had planned for his life. Anybody who knows Billy Graham in real life, knows that he was/is one of the most influential and successful evangelists ever. So, Emily probably swallowed those words a few times after hearing what had happened, and how Billy Graham’s life had turned out.
The lighting, music, camera angles and effects, and dialogue were all completely believable. Since Billy Graham’s early preaching years took place in the late 1930’s and early to mid 1940’s, the “glow” on the camera effects for the scenes was very cool and gave a sense of period time/era feel of that era in time to it. All the emotions portrayed in the film were very well done and put across, from the frustration, to love, to happiness, to sympathy, everything was done well by everyone on everyone’s part.
The use of the green screen was used different times throughout the movie to add effect. Most of the time, it was a backdrop of a crowd that Billy Graham would have preached to during his crusades, one time it was a sky, and it was other things at other times. I thought it was used very well, I don’t think the director meant for it to look extremely real, but did a good job at putting across the images. Most of the soundtrack was country/gospel music, because that’s what Billy Graham would have grown up listening to most likely, by being in a rural area in North Carolina. It added a nice feel to it with the feelings that it brought with it. It didn’t detract from the story, but added a nice feel to it.
If you want to see a wholesome movie about a genuine man, with a genuine love for God, to live a genuine life, and love a genuine wife with a genuine love, this movie is for you. The movie shows struggles, but with promise and love on the other side of the turmoil. This movie is extremely positive, and you will come away feeling good after you watch this. Maybe you’ll realize things you need to change in your life, that can lead to something great.
Chris R is a grade 12 student who is compared to as the next Billy Graham