Review: The Shadow Effect

with Debbie Ford


I received a free copy of The Shadow Effect to review and am actually having a tough time reviewing it. The Shadow Effect is about discovering and knowing the so called, “Shadows” in our lives which are the flaws, the bad actions, the painful things, the adversities we’ve faced which we avoid and try to keep secret from the world around us.  Some of these shadows are outlined and they include how we sabotage ourselves of our desires, our feelings, our egos and our persona’s we display.  All these things we hide and reject are buried inside us and we can’t keep them bottled up since it consumes so much energy to do so and it prevents us from allowing our brighter side to truly be revealed with our dark side together.

So, my first reaction was one of disappointment as I was really hoping for something with more of an impact to me and something that I could connect with.  However, that didn’t happen for a number of reasons.  First, the movie just seems to drag on saying the same thing without getting to many real discoveries and it has many old cliches which I found kept me out of the movie’s atmosphere over and over.  The movie presented a number of obvious biases as well.  There are certain media figures used as examples for the dark “shadows” while others are presented as great shining light examples.  I found these examples seemed to pinpoint and promote specific names with media clips while chastising others (I won’t even repeat the names used here) and that turned me off immediately.  It was completely unnecessary for the point in the movie.

Also, many of the examples are described with no real evidence or research, everything is presented as “probably” and “likely” this person that or that person must have done “this” at some time in their life.  These are not examples of the shadow in any way, it’s simply made up.  I could find those types of things in anyone’s life, especially if I am making assumptions about what they must have thought years and years ago which formed the so called shadow.  I found this just ridiculous.

I think the points being made about how our thoughts and emotions can cause later problems in our lives when they are not dealt with are great but the movie talks only about how rejecting these feelings is a problem without providing any really guidance to in fact deal with them instead.  The movie tries to drive you into your own mind of suppressed emotions and does nothing but stir those up and talk as if this “shadow” can be resolved to then “let our light in our awareness” to begin processing them.  Those are the words in the movie, not mine.  That really doesn’t mean anything to me and I’m not sure how it can help anyone.  I realize there are lessons to be learned in any dark experience and that they can lead to being a better person.  The way this is outlined as the shadow with dark and light seems off base to me.  The movie references a few spiritual aspects in terms of the shadow and this is where I really disconnected.  I can’t connect to something that is describes so strongly as spiritual yet they refuse to say anything about right and wrong, or good and evil, or God for that matter.  They use light and dark instead.  It’s just a way of hiding what the shadow really is if you ask me, which contradicts the whole point of the movie. The whole movie is based on revealing those hidden truths inside ourselves that we hide from the rest of the world. The light and brilliance of hope, grace and love by God versus the dark, evil, and tempting ways of Satan.  It seemed to me they want the viewer to feel like they have exposed something great and that there is a “divine recipe”, while they don’t even bring God into the picture of dealing with these types of evils inside of us.  The movie goes into some great points on forgiveness and how it is required to move forward to shield our spirits but I just can’t believe God again, was left out of this.  Sorry, forgiveness is not in ourselves, it’s by the grace of God and his Son, Jesus.  They dared not touch any of this subject in “The Shadow Effect” though, its all left quite universal.

Another area I absolutely disagree with were the points about how you can’t hate something that you don’t deeply desire yourself.  The movie says that anything you show that you hate or detest in others is really because you deeply desire it yourself.  This is ridiculous!  I can hate evil, murder and other horrific things without that desire or even a glimmer of desire inside me.  There isn’t a perfect balance of the so called “light and dark” in every person, like the movie claims.  These balances might exist in the universe, but they certainly shifts inside individual cultures, generations, amongst turmoil and absolutely in individuals.  Can people change? Yes. Does it require outside help and intervention?  Yes.  I’ll put my faith for that in God, not myself thanks.

The movie ends without giving you any tools to change, instead its feels like an infomercial for enticing you to buy the interactive DVDs and attend “The Shadow Effect” seminar processes.  There are many inspirational messages about light and references for brilliance and happiness and while the movie is motivational, it’s not something I feel can make any lasting change for someone.  It still requires more of the process (whatever that is) to allow any change to occur.  The movie reminds me very mush like, “The Secret” for its repetitive strong message without really telling you how or what is necessary to make any the movie’s promise actually happen.  Personally, I’d say not to bother with this movie, as it just doesn’t give any real things to learn or change from.  I haven’t read the book but if its anything like this movie, I’ll save myself the time and avoid it as well.

I’d encourage you to still go check out the trailer and decide for yourself.  I truly watched this movie with an open mind and wanted to learn what was so transformational, but I personally didn’t see that and the style in which the movie teased with no real actions disappointed me throughout.

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