Film Review: Child, Come Back Home – The Call of God’s Love

By Ruochen, Japan

Today I would like to recommend to everyone a film, Child, Come Back Home, which won the award for Best Educational Film in the Christian Film Festival in Virginia, USA in January 2018. It is a feature film of faith-related subject. Nevertheless, the director doesn’t merely discuss the serious topic of religion in this film, but selects internet addiction, a typical phenomenon of today’s society, as its subject. And with a subtle insight into the society and a unique perspective, the director has depicted the conflicts and harm that internet addiction brings to the teenagers and their families, and also has pointed out an effective way to break internet addiction.

The hero Li Xinguang is a senior high school student. Originally, he had been a sensible and well-behaved boy. While attending middle school, he became addicted to internet games, and began to play hooky from school frequently in order to go to the internet café. He became more and more decadent and rebellious. His parents tried everything to help him quit online gaming but all in vain, and his relationship with his father had been deteriorating. … The film unfolds with the story about how Li Xinguang who becomes obsessed with internet addiction sees through the substance of internet games, and ultimately quits them.

parents and childThe film opens with a series of montage shots: All kinds of people with their heads down are playing various games on their cellphones in school, at subway station, on bus…. Those shots perfectly reflect that internet addiction has become a common social phenomenon. Soon, the scene shifts to the interior of an internet bar, dimly lit and noisy. Li Xinguang’s eyes are staring at the computer screen, and he is skillfully operating the keyboard. Although his thin face looks a bit tired, he is still very excited, giving shouts at times. Then the scene cuts to the outdoors. In the rain his parents are anxiously looking all around for him who has not been home for several days. Eventually, his father finds him in the corner of a small internet bar, and angrily takes him home by force.

Xinguang’s parents represent the Chinese traditional parents: The stern father believes “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” while the loving mother simply indulges in her love for the child. In order to make their son break his internet addiction, Xinguang’s parents decide to send him to a private school that operates with a confinement-type supervision system, expecting that in that kind of environment he will be restrained from playing online games. But yet, both the school discipline and the teacher’s reproach fail to work on him; the high walls surrounding the school also cannot curb his strong desire to play online games—he and his classmates climb over the wall and skip class! Then again, his parents have to look for him everywhere.

Just when Xinguang becomes ever more deeply ensnared, and his parents, the school staff, and the government all can do nothing about him, then the story takes a twist and the film comes to the subject.

When Li Xinguang’s parents are at their wits’ end, they hear from a friend that God is capable of saving people, helping people break free from internet addiction. Thus, they decide to believe in God, looking forward to God saving their son. After believing in God, the father comes to understand the root of mankind’s corruption and becomes aware that his education method of the past was wrong. He voluntarily apologizes to Xinguang, and preaches to him with patience. This action moves Xinguang, causing an improvement in the deteriorated relationship between them. The mother also gets to know only God can save her son from his internet addiction. Having seen the hope, she no longer cries over her son but begins to guide him to believe in God. The parents read God’s words to Xinguang, and pray for him before God many times. Seeing his parents’ change, Xinguang feels a little guilty in his heart, but he perfunctorily deals with his parents and still secretly plays games behind their backs. Just as he bares his heart to his mother, “I know online gaming is bad, but I can’t control myself. If I don’t play, I feel terrible.” Evidently, as soon as one gets addicted to games, then like being possessed by devils, his thoughts and behavior are no longer under his own control, and it is really difficult to break free from them!

fear and uneasiness, sinking into a chairAt this time there is a sharp twist in the plot. Xinguang’s friend Feng Hao suddenly died in an internet bar after continuously playing online games for several days and nights. When Xinguang hears the news of Feng Hao’s death in the corridor of the hospital, he expresses fear and uneasiness and then petrifies, sinking into a chair. Obviously, the friend’s sudden and unexpected death gives a heavy blow to this youngster’s heart. The careful audience may have noticed the tears running down Xinguang’s cheeks. What do these tears mean? Do they mean his grief at his friend’s death? Or his dread of online games? Here, the director doesn’t give any explanation, but leaves it to the audience to think over.

Many times, Xinguang wakes up frightened from nightmares due to the impact of Feng Hao’s death on him. This makes him practically experience that online games are so terrible while bringing man the sense of thrills and pleasure. Finally, he turns back to God through his parents’ fellowship, and resolves to break his internet addiction. By reading God’s words and listening to the testimonies of other Christians who have already broken their internet addiction, Li Xinguang finds the way to quit his gaming addiction, and learns to rely on God and pray to God when encountering things. After several reverses, he gradually breaks his gaming addiction and at last restores his vitality of the past, and his relationship with his parents also becomes harmonious. This young boy, once lost in the world of network games, eventually is awakened by God’s love, walking onto the way back home.

worship,Christians,brothrs and sistersThere are quite a few films and documentaries concerning internet addiction at present. But on the whole, the majority of them stop at the description of this social phenomenon that internet addiction brings man great harm. They don’t point out a practical and effective way to break internet addiction. Even though people use human methods to force kids to quit online gaming, such as sending them to the internet addiction treatment centers, it is all to no avail. Furthermore, it will cast a big shadow over the hearts of kids. This film, however, not only reveals this social phenomenon, but also guides the audience to see through the harm to mankind brought by internet games and the substance of them. It can be said to be an inspirational educational film for young and old.

The singularity of the film is that the Christians in it talk about their testimonies of experience from the parents’ and the child’s perspectives, which are genuine, moving, and convincing. These testimonies tell the audience: As parents, how they should communicate with their children to truly help them and to break down the barriers between their children and them; as children, how they should do to kick their internet addiction and relate well to their parents. In addition to pointing out the practical path to breaking internet addiction for young addicts, this film also shows the details of how family members should care for and look after each other.

The final song “Come Home, My Baby” allows the audience to look back upon the film. At the same time, it also conveys the Creator’s call to those who are still living under Satan’s influence and suffering all kinds of harm and tortures of Satan. In this film, God has saved not only Li Xinguang who was addicted to online gaming, but also his parents who were afflicted by Satan. As a result, they all have begun to take the right path in life, and gained release and freedom. God not only can save people from internet addiction, but moreover can save them from all the corruption of Satan. This is the important information this film conveys to the audience; even more, there is another meaning of coming back home implied in the film—returning to the embrace of the Creator!

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