The marriage begins to unravel after the birth of their son. Jeff is preoccupied with his career—he is driven, insensitive, selfish. Heather is depressed, distraught. She can’t handle the pressure … so she leaves. She doesn’t call, and doesn’t say where she’s gone. As the years go by, Jeff doesn’t even know if she is alive.
The events in the film No Greater Love take place 10 years later. Jeff has raised his son, Ethan, by himself. He’s thinking of getting married again. And then, unexpectedly, Heather is back in their lives. Ethan is confronted with a mother he’s never known, and Jeff doesn’t know how to relate to a woman who is much different from the one he remembers.
I won’t say any more about the plot of No Greater Love except to add that it is full of the unexpected. It is a quality film that makes a strong statement about the permanence of marriage and about the changes Christ can make in your life. But different twists in the story surprised me; this is one Christian film you cannot accuse of being predictable.
In a FamilyLife Today interview with the film's creators, FamilyLife President Dennis Rainey predicts, “I think God is going to use this to give the church [the] heart to once again believe the Scriptures and embrace what they teach about biblical marriage, and how we need to approach permanence in marriage.” That is certainly the goal of the film, which was written by Brad Silverman and produced by Russ Rice of Coram Deo Studios.
“Coram Deo means, ‘living in the presence of the Lord, before the face of God,’ Rice says. “We wanted to make sure that we honored God and glorified Him in everything we did. … If we can't do it to glorify God, we're not going to do it.”
In the radio interview, both Russ and actor Anthony Tyler Quinn (who plays the character of Jeff in the film) make some interesting comments about the difference Christ has made in their lives. You can tell that their own experiences helped shape their convictions about the importance of the message in No Greater Love.
“Seven years into our marriage I was a really rotten husband,” Rice recalls. “I treated her very, very wrongly and she had a rough seven years. … I had some success as a fundraising sales rep and was doing very well as far as financially but really our marriage was just kind of existing, unfortunately, like a lot of marriages.”
He thought he was a Christian, but while meeting with a group of men studying the Bible, he recalls, “I came to the realization that I was not saved. For the first time in my life I understood what it meant that I am totally depraved, there is nothing good in me, and I repented of my sins … I was saved and our marriage immediately changed.”
Quinn is a veteran actor who is currently best known for his role as a teacher on the Disney Channel series, Boy Meets World. He says his family background is “riddled with divorce” and multiple marriages. “I’m the only one in my family that is still married to the same person they said their vows to.”
Before he was married he told his wife, “I’m scared to death because what’s to change our future? I’m going to be just like them ten years down the road. Who knows when something will snap, or something will happen in my life, and I’ll just either leave you or maybe I’ll be a rotten husband.”
Instead, both he and his wife became Christians in their mid-twenties. He says “Christ came into my life and literally defined me. He’s made me the husband that I am today … Jesus has made all the difference.”
Quinn’s faith has played a big part in helping him decide what roles to play in his career as an actor. He’s turned down many parts because of the amount of sex, language, or violence in the script. “I want to make films that honor [God] and talk about His providential care in your life and His sovereignty in your life and the practical ‘living out’ of difficult Christian circumstances.”
The creators of No Greater Love are hoping and praying that the film will have the same type of impact as they’ve seen in private screenings. Viewers are encouraged to excel in their marriages and to work on strengthening their relationships.
Rice describes one incident in Texas that he says is typical of what they’ve seen: “We were down there with about 800 people showing the film. At the end, I always get up and try to recap some biblical truths in the film … This guy grabs onto me as the credits are rolling, and he's just bawling. And he just kept saying 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this movie … I want to be a better husband. I want to be changed.'”
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