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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Ashley Kate Adams, Julianna Allen, Matt Wallace, Melissa Combs, Ruby Lewis, Ryan King and Janine Turner
DIRECTED BY
Jefferson Moore
SCREENPLAY
Jefferson Moore, Mary T. Lennox (Novel)
MPAA RATING
NR
RUNNING TIME
152 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Echolight Studios, Kelly's Filmworks
DVD EXTRAS
Ashley Kate Adams PSA; Ruby Lewis PSA; 1 Message Trailer; Previews
OFFICIAL WEBSITE
 "1 Message" Teaches That Hope Is Only a Click Away 
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28-year-old Becca (Ashley Kate Adams, Royal Pains) had it all: beauty, a successful fiance', and the job of her dreams.

Everything in her life was going as planned - until Becca was diagnosed with breast cancer. Overnight, her idyllic life crashed down around her as her fiance' was unfaithful, the dream job couldn't wait for her to recover and the breast cancer ravaged her body and, perhaps moreso, devastated her self-image.

Broken in body and spirit, Becca isolated herself in her own home hoping that the cancer might finish what it had started. Then, in the matter of a click, hope walked into her life.

Based upon a novel by Mary T. Lennox, a Catholic nun and former nurse, 1 Message is an inspiring story of how one shattered woman discovers an inner resilience and the ability to keep on living through the compassion and empowering messages of a man she's never even met.

If 1 Message sounds schmaltzy, it is. If 1 Message almost uncommonly perky, well, it quite often is. Yet, 1 Message is also a film that is informed by a real life faith in God and hope and people and the absolute belief one person can make a difference and the beauty that we are can't be stripped away no matter how much illness or life may occasionally strip away our sense of normalcy.

I've never had breast cancer and, in fact, I've only very seldom had it even touch my life. Yet, as a person living life with serious and chronic illnesses, I admired greatly the way that writer/director Jefferson Moore constructed a film that honestly addresses the realities of the diagnosis of breast cancer while refusing to give up hope along the way. Adams is either blessed or cursed with a voice that is infinitely perky, I could never decide which, but it was her ability to counter that inherent perkiness with her character's sense of resignation and hopelessness that really helped to sell 1 Message as a terrific example of a film inspired by faith yet also grounded deeply within the everyday challenges of life.

At times, it seemed like 1 Message could benefit from just a tad bit of editing as the e-mail sequences began to reflect a darker You've Got Mail and there were a couple times when Becca's disheveled appearance alone seemed to be the only indicator of a distraught human being. For the most part, however, 1 Message is an accessible and honest film that deals with a topic that  still remains far too taboo to discuss yet touches the lives of thousands of women, and some men, and those who love them.

D.P. Bill Smith lenses the film beautifully, while Shelley Dedrick's original music nicely serves as a companion for both the film's optimism and more stark moments. It has been noted that several of the cast members worked below their usual rates in support of the film's mission of spreading awareness about breast health. Multiple cast members, including Adams and Ruby Lewis, recorded PSA's aimed at twentysomething women, while a portion of the proceeds from the film will benefit breast cancer awareness programs.

With an important message for women and those who love and support them, 1 Message is a realistic and honest yet inspiring and hopeful film about one woman's battle to overcome breast cancer, to discover the beauty that remained and the truth that there's always hope.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
    The Official Rating Guideline
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    • D-: .5 Star
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