Monday, May 11, 2015

Movie Review: The Cokeville Miracle

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a screening for The Cokeville Miracle. I was so excited to go because I've been looking forward to seeing this movie for a few months! It's based on a true story and I honestly don't remember hearing about it at the time it happened. I was a teenager, though, and didn't pay much attention to the news at the time. Keep reading for more information on this amazing story!


From T.C. Christensen comes The Cokeville Miracle, the remarkable true story of a town facing a terrible tragedy, and the Sheriff’s investigator who struggles with his faith as he gathers evidence that defies easy explanation.

Cokeville Wyoming, a town of just over 500 people that sits near the Utah-Idaho border, is not known for much beyond it’s strong family values, but in 1986 Cokeville made national headlines when a madman and his wife entered the elementary school with guns and bomb. They gathered over 100 children and teachers into a small room, and made a demand: $200 million dollars for the lives of the children—but then the bomb went off…

The Cokeville Miracle is not just the story of a hostage crisis, or a terror attack on American soil. It is not just the story of a bomb that could have destroyed an entire generation, and ripped a town apart. The Cokeville Miracle is about what happened instead. How did a bomb that should have leveled the room take only two lives that day, the madman and his wife? Each child, each adult who made it out of that room has a story to tell. Follow the Sheriff’s investigator Ron Hartley as he pieces together the evidence, including stories of prayer and divine intervention from multiple witnesses. Gather the evidence and decide for yourself. Do you see coincidence, or do you see miracles?

I teared up while watching the trailer so I knew this movie would be emotional, and it is. David and Doris Young, the madman and his wife, took an elementary school hostage with a homemade bomb. We get a feel for the town before the day of the bombing and some of the struggles that Ron Hartley, the Sheriff's investigator, is personally going through. We also get a feel for who the Young's are and there were some things about them that I found surprising.

The day of the bombing started out like any normal day. It was interesting to see how easy it was to gather everyone together in one small room. It was an intense situation which culminated with the bomb going off. In the aftermath, Ron Hartley pieced together the evidence to figure out exactly what happened. How were the Young's the only two people to die that day? Was it just a series of coincidences or miracles?

I definitely cried as I heard the stories the adults and children told later. There were times during the hostage situation when I felt that I was missing something. The holes were filled in as we learned more about the bomb, the Young's and the teachers and children who were in the room that day. What an amazing, uplifting story!

We got to hear from a survivor at the screening (there were a few of them there) and he said that this movie is helping many of them to heal all these years later and they're still processing what happened. At the very end of the movie, during the credits, they show pictures of the survivors then and now and it was amazing to see how many people and families were impacted that day. Their families are so beautiful and it's a reminder of what the world would be missing if the outcome had been different that day.

I would be cautious in allowing younger children to watch this movie since it is a hostage situation in a school setting.

What You Can Do to Help

* Like their page on Facebook. There's a lot of other great information there, including videos and survivor stories.

* Go see the movie on June 5th. Because it's an independent film, they have opening weekend to prove they can bring in an audience. The more people who see it opening weekend, the longer it will be in theaters!

* May 16th is the 29th anniversary of the Cokeville hostage crisis. As a way to honor those whose lives have been impacted by the horrific experience of school violence and out of respect to the survivors, you are invited to turn off your devices and spend 3 hours with the people you love.

* Share your experiences using #seemiracles.


Alisa said...

Since I won't get to see this in the theater, I can't wait for it to come out on DVD... After reading your review I went out and read up on it. Great story - I can't wait until I can see the movie!

Melanie said...

Check your area--it will be shown outside of Utah.

Tan said...

Check out this list of theaters, it's playing in a number of markets outside of Utah (D.C., Texas, California, etc.)

Melanie said...

Thanks, Tan!! That is very helpful!

Brenda Bateman said...

Thank you T.C. And Ron for handling such a tender subject with truth and honesty.

Unknown said...

I totally remember this! This will be one I have to wait for on DVD! I don't want to ugly cry in the theater :)

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