This film delves into faith like most hard-hitting films do not. It goes directly for the icons we know so well such as the priestly habit, choir practice, and even the mega church concept. Cedric the Entertainier plays the pastor of such a church and we learn that while his concerns are more practical than Ethan Hawke’s small church ones, some of the genuine nature of faith may have been sacrificed in the process.
Reverend Toller, Ethan Hawke, is never seen preaching to a large congregation. In fact, his job is only ever inferred. His white picket fence small wooden church belies the fire of disillusionment that is rising up within him. But his great acting launches there. He counsels a young pregnant woman in the church, Amanda Seyfried, and her disturbed husband. He is so candid and tries so hard, you would think he was once a successful leader of a flock.
As you watch this film, you find out that so much of it relies on perception. Of the two churches, which is more real, more compassionate.
The ending has been called shocking. I wasn’t shocked by it. I wish I hadn’t read it was shocking then I wouldn’t have expected it as such. I think this film suffered from over ambition but it still makes for a powerful conversation starter about the environment and about faith in our times. 6/10.