Fifteen year old Matthew Stevenson’s life is falling apart. His parents are getting a divorce, his home is filled with angry words, and his father constantly lashes out at him. No one seems to notice him, or care about him. So Matthew, in an effort to be noticed for once in his miserable life, vandalizes the town’s beautiful little church. Matthew, in an agreement with the pastor, must then work to repair the damage he has done, working alongside a withdrawn grieving woodcarver named Ernest Otto. WWJDII: The Woodcarver tells the story of an extraordinary friendship that changes the lives of Matthew and Ernest forever. Along the way, the two rediscover the importance of faith and family.
When lonely, broken Matthew Stevenson (Dakota Daulby) vandalized the church the last thing he wanted to do was fix it. When grieving, withdrawn woodcarver Ernest Otto (John Ratzenberger) agreed to repair the church the last thing he wanted to do was work alongside Matthew. Thrown in the situation together, the two strike up an uneasy compromise, but as Matthew watches Ernest work he becomes intrigued, and when Ernest watches Matthew he becomes compassionate. When Matthew asks Ernest how he can help fix the last pieces of the church Ernest offers to teach the boy woodcarving. As the two work together Ernest finds a young boy to invest in, helping him heal after his wife’s unexpected death, and Matthew begins to understand what faith and family looks like. As Matthew’s parents are drawn in, the story of WWJDII: The Woodcarver grows into one of healing and redemption.
As Matthew and Ernest form an unlikely relationship, Ernest begins mentoring and investing in the life of they young struggling boy. WWJDII: The Woodcarver is a beautiful picture about the power of mentoring, and the good influence older generations have on younger ones. As the story progresses and we see Ernest slowly training Matthew in something they both enjoy (woodcarving) we also see him taking the opportunity to speak life, love, and hope into the young boy’s life. In some ways Ernest takes the place of a father to Matthew, teaching him about Jesus, life, and forgiveness. WWJDII: The Woodcarver portrays the importance of having older generations teaching the younger ones. The film WWJDII: The Woodcarver will make viewers think about their own gifts, talents, and abilities, and consider how they can make a difference in the lives of those younger than them, by simply stopping to look at, listen to, and love someone who is in need of guidance and in need of a friend.
Another wonderful theme of WWJDII: The Woodcarver is healing. Both Matthew and Ernest, though broken in different ways, are still in need of healing. Ernest has closed himself off from much of the world after the death of his beloved wife. Matthew, who’s home has never been one of great love and joy, simply does not know what it looks like to grow into a young man of integrity. He is hungry to be listened to and hungry to be loved. WWJDII: The Woodcarver shows how to broken people can actually begin to help each other heal. Ernest finds someone to love and train in Matthew, and Matthew finds a role model and listening ear in Ernest. WWJDII: The Woodcarver also shows how the healing of one individual can start a ripple that can transform the lives of those closest to them, take Matthew’s parents for example, who reevaluate their own lives and actions after seeing the radical transformation of their son.
Perhaps the most important take away from the film WWJDII: The Woodcarver is the importance of putting Jesus first. Putting him first in life, in marriage, and in family. As Matthew begins to realize this, his entire attitude, value system, outlook on life, and actions change radically. The entire family also learns that the only way a marriage and family can truly survive and thrive is by recognizing Jesus as the center and most important piece of the puzzle. Of course the well known phrase “What would Jesus do?” becomes Matthew’s unofficial “theme song” so to speak, and with that in mind, his attitude remains fixed on putting Jesus first. WWJDII: The Woodcarver is a powerful reminder that truly putting Jesus first can transform a life, home, and community.
WWJDII: The Woodcarver is full of moving and powerful themes such as putting Jesus first, the power of prayer, mentoring, listening, healing, compassion, and kindness. As Matthew is transformed by Ernest’s steadfast kindness and genuine concern viewers will be challenged to consider who in their own lives simply needs a kind word and a listening ear. The film WWJDII: The Woodcarver will encourage viewers to take the focus off of themselves and their own problems, and consider the needs and desires of others as more important than their own. This film is also a gentle reminder that the church is made up of generations who can instruct and learn from each other, and that the older have a calling to share their wisdom with the younger. WWJDII: The Woodcarver will draw your family together in an inspiring heartwarming film about how Jesus can transform a family.
WWJDII: The Woodcarver was rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some thematic material. This film received the “Faith Friendly” award for all ages from the Dove Foundation. As always, it is recommend that parents preview all content to determine what is suitable for their children, but the film WWJDII: The Woodcarver is considered appropriate for most audiences.
WWJDII: The Woodcarver includes several bonus features, such as a special on the making of the film WWJDII: The Woodcarver.
If you and your family enjoyed WWJDII: The Woodcarver you may also like some of the similar films, What Would Jesus Do? and WWJD: The Journey Continues.
The Woodcarver was a witness to the love of God poured out in this world by individual people. It depicted how each of us can really change hearts of others, if we show the love of God and give ourselves totally to Him. By our example we can help others to come to the love of God.
(Posted on 11/16/16)