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Movie Review


The Victor Marx Story tells the story of, well, er, Victor Marx. If the name's not familiar don't worry. It's familiar to those of us at Plugged In because Victor used to be on staff here at Focus on the Family. And Victor is one of those men whose colorful life was just begging for a documentary. Talk about trials and tribulations; if ever there was a person who had plenty of reasons to turn out bitter, vengeful, full of hate and spiritually bankrupt, Victor that guy.

But that's not at all what happened.

So, a bit about Victor. He was born in the deep South, the son of (in his father's words) a pimping, drug dealing, street fighter who was involved in the Cajun Mafia. His mother had six husbands. Victor attended 14 schools. Victor's biological dad didn't even want to own up to the fact that he was a father. Still, in many ways, Victor's life paralleled his dad's—who, by the way, is interviewed, along with a sister and several other family members in this documentary.

Some of Victor's rough upbringing involved Victor's poor choices. But for the most part Victor was merely a victim. Like the time he was abused by a neighbor and left in a commercial cooler where he nearly froze to death. Or the time one of his stepfathers put a loaded gun to his head and threatened his life if Victor told anyone about the abuse he was suffering.

This documentary tackles the cruelty, the abandonment, the rage and the lawlessness, and then shows how Victor miraculously found a way out through Christ and now ministers to youth in prisons, many of whom have similar stories. Despite the spiritual metamorphosis, this documentary doesn't sugar coat Victor's life afterwards. Instead it interviews family members and Victor's psychologist who tell how Victor suffered from PTSD, having flashbacks of the childhood trauma as an adult.

This hour-long documentary would work well in a number of settings, chief among them would be a youth group, small group, men's group or a Sunday or Wednesday evening church service. There's a lot to think about, talk about and contemplate after viewing. Due to the subject matter, it's not a great fit for younger children. But for those around 12 on up, there's plenty of real life here to chew on in a Christ-honoring context that's sure to bring hope to even the hardest-hearted, most disillusioned among us … and remind the rest of us that God's redemption is not some pie-in-the-sky concept.

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