A Little Review of “A Little Game”

In general, a movie about chess would not normally motivate me to write a review.  But, “A Little Game” starring Ralph Macchio, Janeane Garofalo, F. Murray Abraham, and Olympia Dukakis isn’t just about chess.  Released January 20, “A Little Game” is about a girl named Max whose life is filled with changes that she doesn’t want but must learn to accept.  I quickly felt a connection with Max and her attitude toward change.  In our house, we often joke about how “change is bad.”  Of course, we know that’s not really true but sometimes it feels true.  So when Max began to ask questions like, “Why do things have to change?” It was as if someone had bugged our house and decided to make a movie based on what they heard! Max could have been one of my kids.

This gentle story is surprisingly funny given the serious themes and situations that it addresses.  When I sat down to watch it with my fifteen and ten year-old sons, they were less than enthusiastic about the idea.  But it wasn’t long before they started chuckling at the funny parts and commenting on its wisdom.  Believe me, I was as surprised as you are!

At first glance, “A Little Game” is a movie about a girl struggling with the death of her grandmother while trying to fit in at a new school and learning the game of chess from a grumpy old man.  But when you look deeper, themes of love, sacrifice, hope, confidence in yourself, and the importance of relationships become evident.  While not an overtly faith-based movie, I couldn’t help but feel that God was speaking to Max through the people she encountered.  Just like most of us, it takes Max a while to start listening and an even longer time to act on the words she hears.

I truly enjoyed watching “A Little Game” but the biggest compliment I can give it is that the more I reflect on it, the better I like it.  In fact, I want to watch it again to savor the characters and their wisdom.  Who knows?  I might even take up chess!

May Your Journey Be Blessed,

S.S. (The Suburban Saint)

You’re Part of the Plan

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  (Sorry I’m a little late.) Sometimes people get a little mixed up with the name of this feast day and think it has to do with Jesus being conceived through the Holy Spirit.  In reality, this feast day is a celebration of Mary being free of original sin by the grace and will of God.  This enabled her to be worthy to carry the Messiah in her womb.  After all, you don’t think God would let His Son be tainted by sin, do you?

As amazing as it is that Mary was spared the stain of original sin, another aspect of the feast day has recently caught my attention.  Have you ever thought about how much thought God put into His plan for salvation?  We’re talking about some serious planning here folks!  God (who, of course, is all-knowing and all-powerful) prepared Mary to be the mother of Christ even before her conception.  He deemed her worthy of the most important role a mortal could play in His plan for salvation, Christ-bearer.

Yet, with all of that advance planning, He still gave her the choice to say “yes” or “no.”  He took a pretty big risk, don’t you think?  What if she had said “no?” I guess God would have had to go back to the drawing board and find someone else worthy of the task.  But, God still gave her the choice.  Of course, He knew she would say “yes.” (See “all-knowing” above.)

So how do we fit into this plan?  What part do we play?

Well, I can’t tell you what your part is in God’s plan, that’s between you and the Big Guy.  But I can assure you that your part is unique AND important. Each of us has a part in God’s plan.  Sure, it won’t be as high-profile as Mary’s part.  Mary definitely got the lead role in that scenario but, in God’s plan, there truly are no small roles, only small actors.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all said yes just like Mary did?  Can you imagine a world full of people doing God’s will? It would be amazing!  Like heaven on earth. To me, that’s what they mean when they say, “Thy Kingdom Come!” So, if that’s what God’s kingdom would look like, sign me up!

May your journey be blessed,


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