By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT'S EMMA SMITH: MY STORY ABOUT?
Explores the life, trials, and triumphs of Emma Smith, wife of Latter-day Saint prophet Joseph Smith. Buy or rent it here.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Produced by the Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society, this lushly-shot and very well-acted take on the life of Emma Smith was directed by Gary Cook and T.C. Christensen, who together also directed the excellent Latter-day Saint film Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. This film uses the same actors, and truly feels like a companion film to that one. Nathan Mitchell continues to impress as Brother Joseph, but it is Katherine Nelson and Patricia Place, as the younger and elder Emma, respectively, who truly shine in this even-handed and faithful examination of the life, faith, and trials of this oft-misunderstood “elect lady.” The film succeeds in building faith while exploring touchy subjects like plural marriage and Emma’s not joining the migration to Utah. Solid production values add to the professional feel. Don’t miss it.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Emma Smith: My Story is rated PG for thematic material including the death of children during birth, death of a spouse, and religious persecution. Joseph Smith is shown slightly bloodied and bruised after he’s tarred-and-feathered.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
God gives us trials so that we can grow in character, integrity, and compassion. Never give up on your children.
After Emma Smith: My Story, check out The Nativity Story for another excellent film about a remarkable woman of faith. I feature it here in my segment on overlooked Bible movies:
For more family movie reviews, order a copy of my film guide 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback or Kindle.