Waiting For Butterflies is a hard-hitting, emotional drama about how our inner lives are exposed by tragedy. When a little girl dies in the midst of a bank robbery, her family is ripped apart as members blame each other and themselves. Two years later, when the matriarch of the family lies dying, the family drifts back into each other’s lives. Will the grandmother’s desire for renewal and healing be enough, or are some wounds too deep to be made well?
The film plays out as a series of come-to-Jesus moments after the opening tragedy occurs. Various community members are struggling with their part in the death of the little girl: there’s the bank robber himself, whose back story shows a different side of the situation, and his family who are separated from him by a wall of glass; there’s the young uncle of the little girl whose irresponsibility led to her presence in the bank; there’s the little girl’s mother, father, and siblings, who struggle with the grief they feel in the aftermath of her death. All of them need to forgive and be forgiven, but they all struggle with where to start.
The film opens with a voiceover that encourages us to see the world as an interwoven series of events where our lives impact others. How the events relate to each other work a bit more obviously than a movie like Do You Believe? or Crash, but it’s still a rippling effect of interconnectivity. Taking the drama to another level, even those who are people of faith tend to turn back to something less-than-faithful when trouble hits (except Grandma!) But the film points us back to Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
That’s the message of Waiting for Butterflies: we will face pain and struggle but we should allow God to transform us, and the way we respond to such pain. We need to forgive, we need to find joy in the midst of suffering. That’s not our “natural, human response,” but one that comes from being immersed in the flow of God’s grace and peace.
A serious movie, with serious points, Waiting for Butterflies is aimed at adults much more than children. It’s a reminder to adults that we can say all the right things with all the right code words, and still not really live a life that reflects our love of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is powerful, and theological, but it’s also necessary, because we can’t live or move forward without it.
Want a crash course in a modern day parable on forgiveness? Check this one out now.