I Can Only Imagine

Last updated date: June 14, 2019

DWYM Score
8.1

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We looked at the top 1 Movies and dug through the reviews from 14 of the most popular review sites including The Guardian, Plugged In, Conservative Book Club, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Indie Wire, CBN, The Wrap, Your Family Expert, Reel Rundown, What Christians Want to Know, TV Guide, Reasons For Hope Jesus, Randal Rauser and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Movie you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 139 expert reviews, the Lionsgate I Can Only Imagine placed 7th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 8, 2019:
Checkout The Best Movie for a detailed review of all the top movies.

Expert Summarized Score
8.2
14 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.8
4,160 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
For all the faith-based platitudes baked into the script, it has to be conceded that directing brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin steer the ship steadily and draw out sincere and persuasive performances from Finley, who really can sing gloriously well, and Quaid, who even with a now ravaged visage is still just as dangerous, compelling and sexy as ever.
- The Guardian
I Can Only Imagine is about the paradoxical link between pain and redemption, between brokenness and forgiveness. We see plenty on each side of that paradox.
- Plugged In
What surprised me the most about “I Can Only Imagine” is how tastefully made it is in all departments.
- Conservative Book Club
Poetic license aside, so much of Millard’s story is simultaneously relatable and optimistic that the movie works for the same reason the song does: It lightens the burden of the pain people are shouldering today, and gives them something to look forward to.
- Variety
Unlike its directors’ previous work, “I Can Only Imagine” plays its cards very close to the chest. There’s no trace of conservative politics, nor any straw man posturing against the so-called liberal agenda; Jesus is barely mentioned until the third act, his guiding light revealed to the hero with the gentle sting of a plot twist.
- Indie Wire
March 21, 2018 | Full review
In what may be one the best roles of his long Hollywood career, Quaid delivers a truly riveting performance in I Can Only Imagine. Portraying Bart’s abusive, alcoholic father Arthur, Quaid is the engine that ultimately drives this movie.
- CBN
That makes the film of “I Can Only Imagine” a unique hodgepodge of different types of song-generated movie.
- The Wrap
The Amazing Grace scene was very sweet and powerful. The ending concert is also very sweet and made me cry. The story focuses on the redeeming love of Jesus Christ and how we need to forgive others.
- Your Family Expert
May 21, 2018 | Full review
I really liked the soundtrack of this film and not just the instrumental pieces, but the song choices used for the music they picked.
- Reel Rundown
August 20, 2018 | Full review
It’s one of those movies that is made so well, you forget you’re watching a movie. We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of comedic moments throughout the story which helped provide some lightheartedness in contrast to some of the tear-jerking moments.
- What Christians Want to Know
Some will find great comfort in this film, and fans of the band will undoubtedly walk out of the theater with smiles on their faces.
- TV Guide
But the story is even better. It is the best story ever told. It is a reminder that no one is ever beyond the reach of God’s grace and forgiveness.
- Reasons For Hope Jesus
April 5, 2018 | Full review
However, lest you think I’m the grinch who stole Christian movies, I will say that I left the theater glad I watched the film and impressed by the life of Bart Millard and the extraordinary success of his song.
- Randal Rauser
March 18, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
By the time I Can Only Imagine ends with Bart seeing his dead father beaming at him from the audience (he looks great, heaven agrees with him), you can only imagine how the movie could have been any worse.
- The Hollywood Reporter
March 16, 2018 | Full review
There’s a reason why all of these movies are so amateurishly made; why they all end with links to religious websites; why they all look like they were shot on an iPhone by a Walmart-brand Janusz Kaminski who lit each interior like the white light of heaven was streaming through every window.
- Indie Wire
March 21, 2018 | Full review
In fact, it feels a little imbalanced to short-shrift the details of a turbulent father-son relationship made whole, in order to spend the last half hour on the song.
- The Wrap
Unfortunately, it was kind of silly to have him play a teenager in high school; he looked WAY older than any of the other students. Shaving off that beard could have helped.
- Your Family Expert
May 21, 2018 | Full review
People complain that the film feels low budget, and while they whine about that, keep in mind this is an autobiographical film, since when biography need fancy cinematography anyway,
- Reel Rundown
August 20, 2018 | Full review
The direction in this film is confusing, as the Erwin brothers seem to give everyone the minimum amount of character development and assume that the audience will fill in the blanks
- TV Guide
First, the movie has several irritating period errors. It opens in late autumn 1985 with Bart as a young boy. He acquires a cassette of U2’s The Joshua Tree and he begins listening to it.
- Randal Rauser
March 18, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The inspiring true story behind Christian band MercyMe's beloved, chart topping song that brings ultimate hope to so many with the power of true love and forgiveness.

Overall Product Rankings

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Overall Score: 8.9
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2. Top Gun
Overall Score: 8.6
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3. Deadpool 2
Overall Score: 8.5
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4. Iron Man 2
Overall Score: 8.3
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5. The Shawshank Redemption
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 10
A Quiet Place
6. Paramount Pictures A Quiet Place
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 14
7. I Can Only Imagine
Overall Score: 8.1
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8. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Overall Score: 7.3
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9. Venom
Overall Score: 6.7
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10. The Da Vinci Code
Overall Score: 5.8
Expert Reviews: 6

An Overview On Movies

While watching new movies in the theater comes with lots of excitement, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch to watch a movie at home. In many cases, watching a movie at home is far cheaper than going to the theater, especially if you have several movie-watching friends. But adding in some popcorn and sodas, the whole evening can cost an arm and a leg!

When you watch a movie at home, you have the benefit of having control. At the theater, the movie stops for no one. If you miss a line, for example, you can’t replay the crucial scene you missed. At home, on the other hand, you have the freedom to re-watch lines or scenes when you need more time to figure out what is happening. For those that need frequent bathroom breaks, you can easily pause the movie at home, whereas you may miss pivotal scenes when you have to run out of the theater.

At the theater, you’re surrounded by all sorts of people. Some are loud and obnoxious and can ruin your night with spoilers or unnecessary commentary. Having to deal with people kicking the back of your seat or throwing popcorn at the screen is no fun either. When you’re at home, you can choose who you get to watch the movie with. If you’re in the mood to be alone, you can do that too. That’s not an option you get at the theater!

An important part of the movie-watching experience is the snacks! It’s almost impossible to sit through a full movie without munching on something crunchy or sweet. At the theater, you’re limited to whatever they sell. It’s rare to find things outside of the realm of normal, which includes popcorn, candy and sodas. At home, you can eat whatever you choose with your movie. Some people even create themed snacks that complement the plot of the movie to get really into the storyline.

DYWM Fun Fact

Did you know that the first-ever motion-picture film was made long ago in 1888? “Roundhay Garden Scene” is a short movie, only 2.11 seconds long,  directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince. The black-and-white silent scene of four people walking in a garden actually holds the title in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest surviving film in existence.

A few years later, in 1895, another black-and-white silent short film of a train pulling into a train station caused quite the commotion when it was shown to audiences. “Arrival of a Train” was directed by The Lumière Brothers. Film was such a novelty back then that people were almost frightened of it. Legend says that as the film showed the train coming towards the camera, members of the audience screamed in terror and ran to the back of the room in a panic.

The Movie Buying Guide

  • The most important part of selecting which movie to watch at home is the plot. It’s crucial to pick a movie that is about something that interests you. “The Passion of the Christ” is an emotional and captivating retelling of the final twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion. On the other hand, “Top Gun” is about the Navy’s prestigious fighter weapons school. It follows the adventures of Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as he aims to be the best he can be. “Deadpool 2” is about the wisecracking and extremely sarcastic superhero, who joins forces with other powerful do-gooders to help save his friend Russell from a genetically enhanced futuristic soldier. In “Iron Man 2,” Tony Stark must navigate the increasing pressure from everyone to share his technology with the military. Now that everyone knows who Iron Man is, the stakes are different for him.
  • Sometimes, the plot of the movie isn’t as important as the genre of the film. For some people, it’s more exciting to choose a film based on the kind of movie it is. Movies often follow similar tropes, themes and storylines based on the kind of genre the movie falls into. “The Passion of the Christ” is a historical drama, unlike “Top Gun,” which is an action film. Both “Deadpool 2” and “Iron Man 2” are superhero movies, full of action and adventure. However, “Deadpool 2” can also be considered a comedy, while “Iron Man 2” is more dramatic and serious.
  • Another important factor to consider when choosing which movie to watch at home is the length. Some movies can be up to three hours long while others are a short 90 minutes. That’s why it’s wise to check the running time of a movie to make sure you have enough time to watch it. For example, “The Passion of the Christ” runs 2 hours and 6 minutes, while “Top Gun” is 1 hour and 49 minutes. “Deadpool 2” is 1 hour and 59 minutes and “Iron Man 2” is 2 hours and 4 minutes.
  • One of the major reasons people choose to watch movies at home instead of the theater is cost. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch “The Passion of the Christ” and “Iron Man 2” for free. You can rent “Top Gun” for under $5 and buy it for under $15. If it’s “Deadpool 2” you’re after, you can buy it for under $20.
  • The rating of a movie may affect whether you choose to watch it at home, depending on your age or the ages of the people you’re watching with. “The Passion of the Christ” and “Deadpool 2” are both rated R, which means that they are not for people under the age of 17 as it contains adult material that is not suitable for children. On the other hand, “Iron Man 2” is rated PG 13, which means that parents should be very cautious showing this movie to children under the age of 13. “Top Gun” is rated PG, which suggests that is suitable for most children with parental guidance.
  • You may want to pick a movie based on how much other viewers have liked it. If you’re going to invest a couple of hours of your time, it’s nice to know that it will be worth it. In this case, “The Passion of the Christ,” “Top Gun,” “Deadpool 2” and “Iron Man 2” are all top-rated flicks, so they are all well-liked by their audiences.