The Erwin brothers make a dwelling telling tales that Hollywood would moderately keep away from.
Assume faith-friendly tales like “October Child” and “I Can Solely Think about,” the latter the duo’s largest hit up to now.
Now, Jon Erwin presents a ‘60s-style flashback that flies within the face of popular culture conventions. It’s a hippie story brimming with peace, love, understanding and Jesus, and never remotely in that order.
And it actually occurred.
“Jesus Revolution” recollects how a preacher and a misplaced younger soul teamed to convey religion to a era determined for which means. The drama defines Erwin’s model of storytelling – robust performances, shiny manufacturing values and, sometimes, a dearth of dramatic grit.
Younger Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney) meets a wonderful younger lady (Anna Grace Barlow), a Hollywood-approved second that adjustments the course of his life in some ways.
She introduces him to Hippie, Inc., the movie’s try to provide a PG:13 ranking to the period’s Flower Energy motion.
The manufacturing values are first charge, however the generic, soft-focus take a look at these cultural forces will frustrate many.
The 2 grow to be half of a bigger wave of disaffected hippies who would moderately drop Bible verses than acid. They’re led by Lonnie Frisbee (Sure, that’s Jesus himself, Jonathan Roumie, from “The Chosen”), a pure chief whose banter bullies previous typical sermons.
Lonnie finds an unlikely ally in Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer, all the time glorious). Collectively, they’re a formidable staff that conjures up what Time Journal would dub the “Jesus Revolution.”
“Jesus Revolution” captures a captivating second in historical past, however the focus is just too usually reserved for smaller, much less outlined measures.
It’s not clear what the film’s goal is, and that haunts us deep into the movie.
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Younger Courtney’s wanderlust completely encapsulates the period in query – late ’60s, early ’70s – however Pastor Chuck’s embrace of Group Lonnie occurs far too rapidly. That transformation alone may have anchored a big swath of the story.
The important thing romance between Courtney and Barlow’s characters additionally feels undernourished. They’re lovely trying and form of coronary heart, however we want greater than that. A key second late of their courtship, very like the ending of the Netflix rom-com “You Folks,” is wildly unearned.
Examine this out! Kelsey Grammer on the Stay with Kelly and Ryan present speaking concerning the Jesus Revolution Film! pic.twitter.com/iAGyP2n9Sp
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) February 16, 2023
But “Jesus Revolution” nails why Christianity captured so many hearts and minds through the period. Younger folks felt disconnected, alone and scared. Many didn’t wish to blur their minds with medication or partake within the period’s sexual freedom.
They craved a non secular balm, even when they didn’t understand it on the time. “Jesus Revolution” is at its greatest when exhibiting that starvation. And darned if Roumie isn’t completely solid because the charismatic coronary heart of the revolution.
He’s not Jesus, after all, however the movie leans into his “Chosen” id in sly and satisfying methods. Watching him bicker together with his on-screen spouse, after watching him all however mesmerize an enormous gathering of worshipers, is a giddy deal with.
The movie’s closing credit fill in the true story’s blanks, suggesting a documentary method might need hit nearer to the mark in capturing this “Revolution.”
HiT or Miss: “Jesus Revolution” tells a needed story with coronary heart, pathos and high-quality performances. It’s nonetheless lacking dramatic components to place it excessive.