The Pilgrim’s Progress (2019)

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Adam R. Holz

Movie Review

A SNAPSHOT REVIEW

John Bunyan’s classic story of spiritual pilgrimage, The Pilgrim’s Progress, is often said to be the second-most read book in the world. Since its original publication in 1678, it has been translated into more than 200 languages, as well as being adapted into scores of plays, TV shows and theatrical versions.

The latest lands in select theaters via Fathom Events on April 18 and 20.

This version, like Bunyan’s original work, follows the allegorical tale of Christian Pilgrim, a man who encounters a mysterious Book that promises more to life than the hopeless toil and drudgery he trudges through in the dank City of Destruction.

Inspired by the courage of another character, Faithful Pathfinder, Christian soon sets out on a quest for the fabled Celestial City. He encounters trials and temptation aplenty along the way, circumstances that repeatedly dangle enticing opportunities to turn away from his pilgrimage to his own promised land.

Christian must also resist the snares of antagonists known as the Supervisor and the Master, who at times take on demonic, dragon-like forms as they attempt to deflect Christian from his goal. “We can dissuade him with fear, with doubt, with pride—there are many persuasions,” the Supervisor tells his minions.

As he makes his way, Christian has to decide whether he will capitulate to despair or trust the King of the Celestial City to help him arrive. Some unlikely and unlooked for allies turn up along the way as well.

Ultimately, he realizes that success in his journey requires relinquishing the many burdens he has doggedly carried with him. In that moment, he exclaims, “My heart has been cleansed! My King did for me what I—and no one else—could do. He has rid me of my burden, and He has given me new life!”

This version of The Pilgrim’s Progress is infused with dramatic peril and, at times, conflict with darkly demonic forces. Those elements almost give the story a Lord of the Rings-esque vibe. Because of that, very young and/or sensitive viewers may find these momentarily intense scenes to be frightening.

But that’s really the only issue here that parents need to be aware of. And for families that want to explore this story’s rich allegorical lessons about faith and perseverance, this animated version of The Pilgrim’s Progress once again opens the door to discuss a timeless spiritual classic.

For more ways to help lead your children toward Jesus Christ, check out these Focus on the Family offerings:

Leading Your Children to the Savior

7 Ways Your Kids Can Connect With God

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Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.