Here’s the latest from, the family guide to movie reviews.

THE IDENTICAL is a musical drama that starts off in 1936. William and Helen Hemsley are a young couple struggling to make ends meet in a small southern town. Expecting a baby, the couple is surprised when Helen gives birth to identical twin boys. At first excited, William is quickly overcome by worry, knowing they can’t afford to feed to children.
When William wanders into a church service held outdoors, he hears a preacher reading the Bible, saying how it’s “better to give, than to receive,” and how he and his wife medically, cannot have children. This moves William to give one of his sons to the Preacher, Reece Wade and his wife Louise, so they can give him a proper home. Reluctant at first, Reece and Louise agree, and they dedicate their young son, Ryan, to God.
Years pass. Reece and Louise raise Ryan into a fine young man, but his incredible musical gift constantly draws him to rock ’n’ roll music, which gets him into trouble. Reece is adamant that Ryan’s calling is to go into the ministry just like he did. To straighten his son out, he makes him enlist in the army and eventually go to Bible School. Ryan obeys his parents and becomes the boy they want him to be, but he’s restless inside and longs for something different.
As the Be Bop 40s roll through into the 1950s, a rock star emerges known as Drexel Hemsley. A nationwide sensation, both men and women alike adore Drexel’s warm deep voice and his one of a kind dance moves. Ryan looks like the spitting image of Drexel and has a connection to the rock star that he can’t explain. Ryan wins a Drexel Hemsley impersonation contest and signs on to do concerts as the rockstar legend. As Ryan pursues his passion of music, he’s still not sure if he’s following his true calling, since he’s merely impersonating someone else. The worlds between Ryan and Drexel collide, and Ryan learns what his parents have been hiding from him all along.

THE IDENTICAL has a poor script that starts off with a compelling premise and setup, but falters in the second act and ultimately loses steam. The characters are genuine and interesting, but aren’t explored as deeply as they could have been. Additionally, much of the dialogue is repetitive. There’s also a seemingly pointless scene that literally preaches the importance of supporting Israel (not that we shouldn’t, it just doesn’t fit in the movie). Other than this, however, the script’s execution is competent. The dual role of Drexel and Ryan is out in the hands of an incredibly talented professional Elvis impersonator named Blake Rayne. Blake delivers his performance with conviction and sincerity. Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd also give strong performances as Ryan’s Christian parents. The movie beautifully captures the classic decades between the 30s and 60s. The sets, costumes and especially the music are all immersive.
The best thing about THE IDENTICAL is its message of faith, forgiveness and following God’s calling that naturally flows out of the story. Though Reverend Reece is shown as strict, his love of Ryan and God never falters. Ultimately, the movie encourages viewers that, if we seek God first, he will give us the desires of our hearts and nothing can stand against us. THE IDENTICAL will charm and entertain families while inspiring positive values.

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