Christine’s Wager Image

Christine’s Wager

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | February 18, 2023

You are going to need a pile of hankies in director/star Jessica Koloian’s moving debut feature Christine’s Wager. Written by W. Veazie, the story is about Christine Pascal (Koloian), who is wrapping up the final semester of her collegiate senior year as a journalism major. She is focused on blowing off as much steam as possible with her buddies Emily (Taylor Abigail Rice) and Missy (Ashley Puzemis).

Christine likes to run during the day and party with booze and boys at night. This leaves little time for her mother, Jennifer (Jennifer Taylor), and baby sister, Amy (Colette Hahn), who miss spending time with her. Nor does Christine have any time for her dad, Bill (Tim Bensch), as she is still seething over his behavior that led to her parents splitting up. Christine really isn’t impressed with Bill’s new girlfriend, Alyssa (Layla Cushman), who is young enough to be her sister.

“…Christine and Bill are informed that Jennifer has had a stroke…”

Christine stops by a drug store to get birth control. To her immense discomfort, her mother is filling in for the pharmacist. Her mother refuses to fill the script, as it conflicts with her Catholic faith, and she wants her daughter to wait for marriage. Embarrassed, Christine continues over to the local hospital, where she volunteers for college credit. But she gets the news that her mother collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. There, Christine and Bill are informed that Jennifer has had a stroke and is in ICU. Chrisitne’s world is upside down when she runs into Father Matthew (Mike Markoff), a hunky-looking priest with a sword and a YouTube channel. What kind of guidance can Father Matthew offer a religious skeptic like Christine while her mother fights for her life?

First, let me congratulate Koloian for a rock-solid feature directorial debut in Christine’s Wager. She adds a lot of production value due to the excellent choice of locations. Another smart move she makes is going quiet on any overt stylish flourishes for most of the movie, offering a seamless landscape that lets the audience focus on the excellent acting. Then the filmmaker busts loose into highly stylized rapid cuts of the holy visions, reminiscent of the world record-setting editing of Spun. Her frugality before the wild stuff pays off big time, as the dream sequences have a real intensity.

Christine's Wager (2023)

Directed: Jessica Koloian

Written: W. Veazie

Starring: Jessica Koloian, Mike Markoff, Jennifer Taylor, Tim Bensch, Carter D. James, Colette Hahn, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Christine's Wager Image

"…a rock solid feature directorial debut."

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