Christmas weekend brought three films with characters who become new people—a Fed Ex manager becomes an isolated islander in Cast Away, a wealthy businessman becomes a suburban father in The Family Man, and a tomboy FBI agent becomes a beauty-pageant contestant in Miss Congeniality. Christian critics mostly approved of the transformations, but questioned the manner in which they were achieved.

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Christian reviewers were divided on the spiritual conclusions in Cast Away, which finds harried Federal Express manager Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) stranded on a desert island where his only goal becomes survival—which involves not just food and water but hope. "A very important message is revealed in the film," says Movie Reporter Phil Boatwright. "No matter how futile our existence may seem, life has the remarkable ability of suddenly bringing design to light, giving us not just hope, but purpose." Boatwright also praises the film for it's "commanding photography, a compassionate script and an inspiring performance by the film's star. And with only one profanity and two obscenities, it prefers to tell its story without bombarding us with objectionable content." The U.S. Catholic Conference calls it a "finely crafted drama," and says that "with Hanks' superb performance at its center, director Robert Zemeckis movingly probes what matters most when someone is stripped of his everyday life and possessions." Preview also lauds Hanks, who "turns in another strong performance in this largely one-man show," and found it reassuring that "Chuck draws spiritual strength from a package painted with angel wings."

However, other critics believed that Chuck's spiritual survival was more humanistic in nature. Jim Mhoon, a contributing analyst ...

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