Movie Review: I Can Only Imagine (2018)

And now for a different movie that will do more than entertain. J. Michael Finley’s voice singing these songs will make you feel good in a way you may not have for weeks. Or longer.

You should watch I Can Only Imagine starring J. Michael Finley if you:

  • Like a good story
  • Can appreciate an amazing singing voice
  • Won’t melt if you hear God mentioned
  • Could use a lift

This is the story behind the genre-busting song of the same name, written by MercyMe’s lead singer Bart Millard. Released in October 2001 shortly after 9/11, Millard’s song comforted a country reeling from its first foreign terrorist attack.

Bart Millard’s story is a hard one. All that little boy wanted was for his dad to see him, to love him. All the father could see were his own failures. I appreciated the filmmakers’ focus on the characters and their development rather than the abuse. It is surprising what creations grow from such fertilizer.

If you read the book, you will learn the whole story. If you watch the movie, you will see fine acting and be treated to J. Michael Finley’s extraordinary voice.

My high school teen and I watched it together. Domestic abuse is part of Millard’s story, so use your judgement about watching it with your kids. I suggest high school and up.

J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard. Yes, that’s his own voice.

I admit, I don’t like seeing Dennis Quaid, one of my favorite actors, play a convincing bad guy. But when Finley started singing, his voice, his voice was…magical. I want to see Finley in the role he was discovered in: Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

Soothe your soul with Finley’s voice, these songs, and a well-made film you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate.


Bennett, Laura. “What You Didn’t Know About ‘I Can Only Imagine’s’ Lead Actor, J.Michael Finley.” Hope Afternoons, Hope 103.2, 15 March 2018,

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