2014: recently released for sale online. Written and directed by Sandy Boikian)
This award-winning film is proof that a “Christian movie” can be subtle, thought-provoking, heart-touching, and also have a really tricky plot. In fact, it’s so tricky, it reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Like Vertigo, Fragile World keeps you guessing right up to the end—and mostly guessing about the same kinds of things.
Fragile World tells the story of Rosalie (Alexa Jansson), a vulnerable young woman with a history of shattering psychic trauma—not unlike Jimmy Stewart’s character in Vertigo—and a tendency to fall into delusions. She seems sane enough, outwardly, and yet we’re told she isn’t.
But are we being told the truth?
Rosalie falls in love with a man who seems ideal for her. Soon writer-director Sandy Boikian has us wondering about him. Is he real? No one else ever seems to see him, and we are told that Rosalie has a history of interacting with imaginary people. And then we’re led to wonder if this is something worse than a delusion—a threat that seems to be psychological, but which may be spiritual: maybe even demonic.
We are also led to wonder about Rosalie’s helpful new friend, Britt (Noelle Perris), and a man who claims to be Rosalie’s doctor, but whom she insists on identifying as a stalking ex-husband who never, in fact, existed. At least that’s what we’re told. Before long we don’t know what to think.
What Makes It a Christian Movie?
This is low-budget suspense, achieved without recourse to special effects, scenes of violence, or over-the-top dialogue. It works because of careful writing, skilled direction, and understated, but quite convincing, acting. It would have been so easy—and so self-defeating—to have Rosalie say and do a lot of crazy things. But the film works so well precisely because she doesn’t act crazy at all. Instead, she’s totally believable—and that’s just what puts such a keen edge on the story.
So what makes it a Christian movie?
“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world,” the Bible teaches us (I John 4:4). When Rosalie finds the courage to walk by faith, to put her trust in God; when her friend learns how to do the same, and stops doubting God’s power and grace; when the man Rosalie loves can finally, through faith, stop trying to force the issue—when these things happen, truth begins to melt the delusions one by one.
And here I must stop giving away major portions of the plot. Suffice it to say that Rosalie’s problems are real, but that God’s grace is powerful indeed.
A Little Gem
Vertigo was a big movie; Fragile World is a little one. Here we learn that a story doesn’t have to shout its message in order to be heard. Sometimes the still, small voice is even more persuasive.
A movie that keeps you guessing, and then arrives at an explanation of its mystery without cheating, is hard to ignore. The ingredients that make Fragile World successful are sympathetic characters, suspense built on uncertainty, one step at a time, and a commitment to reality: to truth. These are not costly ingredients, but they can be hard to come by. Because of all these factors, Fragile World is a movie that will stay with you for a while. I doubt I’ll ever forget it.
To see this movie, you can order it online at www.fragileworldmovie.com. It will also be available soon at LifeWay nationwide and at independent Christian bookstores.