If you take a look at my movie review page you will quickly notice that the majority of my posts are on old movies, like The Woman in White, Bachelor Mother, and State Fair. I am after all a vintage fanatic and unashamed to say so. But occasionally I find a film that deserves my attention. One of such has been Beyond the Mask, an excellent period action/adventure made by The Burns Family Studios. I absolutely love it when Christians put the time and effort into making a good movie that competes in quality and story with the secular world. This is what I want to see more often and am therefore, eager to support those who do.
Because of my review of Beyond the Mask, a member of Crosswalk approached me with an offer to review Vertical Church Films first full length feature film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Of course I said yes! Who wouldn't jump at the chance to view and review a movie not yet in theaters.
Interested? Here is my review of The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.
As a former child star, Gavin Stone's wild life lands him in trouble with the law. His punishment: 200 hours of community service at a church in his hometown where he will stay with his estranged father. Since cleaning bathrooms is hardly his line of work, he quickly signs up for the church passion play. Kelly, the pastor's daughter and play director, reluctantly casts Gavin in the role of Jesus. Confident in his ability to pass himself off as a Christian, Gavin says and does all the "right" things, while Kelly has her hands full trying to curb his suggestions for a more elaborate production. It soon becomes obvious that he knows nothing about the character of Jesus, and as he gets to know fellow church members, he discovers a selfless and caring attitude among them that he has never seen before. But just when Kelly thinks he may be changing for the better, Gavin receives a job offer from a former director and leaves them right before opening night. Suddenly he must decide whether he will choose the fame he has sought to regain or the new life he has found.
Practically every moment while watching this film I was cringing at Gavin's ego. It was hilarious in a painful sort of way. The type of movie where the main character makes every faux pas possible and you can only blush on behalf of the idiot who doesn't realize his own mistakes. But the beauty of it is that, no matter how awkward he is in the Christian atmosphere, no one points it out. Gavin's over-dramatized idea of the Christian faith is challenged as Kelly and fellow Christian's accept him as he is and forgive him for his mistakes, showing him the Jesus he never knew.
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone was directed by Dallas Jenkins, son of Jerry B. Jenkins, whose impressive film career includes Christian greats like Hometown Legend, which he did at the age of 25, and What If... with Kevin Sorbo and Kristy Swanson.
Actor and Character
Agents of Shield's Brett Dalton plays the part of Hollywood bad boy, Gavin Stone with only one rule, "Gavin comes first", until he finally finds what its all about.
My first introduction to Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, playing the character Kelly Richardson, was through her husband, Manwell Reyes from Group 1 Crew. I was amused by her Bon Qui Qui and surprised to discover her in the role as quirky waitress in Mom's Night Out. Contrary to her normal comedic style, Reyes plays the part of the "intense" pastors daughter, endeavoring to be a godly example to fellow church members, who learns the necessity of giving people a second chance. (I would highly recommend watching some of Anjelah Johnson-Reyes comedy routines on YouTube.)
Along with a few other amusing characters, the rough ex-con played by former WWE star Shawn Michaels befriends Gavin and helps him find the way to a better life. Michaels' own story of coming to Christ is a moving account of a wife's patience and the love of God. Watch this interview with Michaels to hear the story.
The Film's Theme
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone reassesses what people think about being a Christian and relating to those who aren't. All the do's and don'ts listed in the churchgoers manual are debunked. The message of this movie is God gives everyone a second chance. It's also a message to believers on what it means to be a godly example. As Shawn Michaels said in an interview with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, "You do better loving them into the kingdom as opposed to dragging them, kicking and screaming."
I hope this review has piqued your interest. The film comes out in theaters this Friday, January 20th! Check out the films page here and their Facebook page here for more information.
If you are a theater goer, be sure to support Christian filmmakers by going to see their films. As Andrea Nasfell of Vertical Church Films said, "See the movies you want to see, and then you will see more of the movies you want to see."