The Shack

Rated 2.0

A grieving father (Sam Worthington) gets a cryptic note signed “Papa”—the nickname his devout wife (Radha Mitchell) uses for God—inviting him to the remote shack where his missing daughter was presumably murdered. There he meets nothing less than the Holy Trinity: the Father (Octavia Spencer), the Son (Avraham Aviv Alush) and the Holy Spirit (Sumire), who try gently to urge him back to faith. Giving full credit for sincerity and better-than-average production values for a faith-based film, this one nevertheless falls short, thanks to the plodding direction of Stuart Hazeldine, who also lets Worthington engage in the kind of mumbling whisper that some actors mistake for intensity. As the Supreme Being, Spencer and (in a later male incarnation) Graham Greene preserve a surprising amount of dignity. J.L.