Jesus Revolution

February 24, 202340/1006 min
Starring
Jonathan Roomie, Kelsey Grammer, Kimberly Willams-Paisley
Written by
Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn (screenplay) Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn ( based on book)
Directed by
Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle
Run Time
2h
Release Date
February 24th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Jesus Revolution often feels like a church production, but with a lot of the rough edges filed off, and while the its intentions are good, it has too narrow of a protective on history to please anyone other that its intended audience

            In the late 60’s and into the early 70’s some would say that life was pretty crazy. This of course was the time of the moon landing, the Vietnam War and when a group of Americans whose distrust of the Government led to embracing a different lifestyle. One in which peace and love was the way to go. Everything though was not happening for some and they continue to try to find meaning in something, and so they found what they needed in Jesus, and this is their story.

When the movie starts, we are not in some trying times, instead we are on a sun-soaked beach with hippies being reborn. That was not always the case though, as we are taken back a year earlier where we meet Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer ) and his dwindling congregation at his church where he spends most of his sermons talking about the “scary” young people these days. While Pastor Smith is stuck in a rut, Greg (Joel Courtney) has met some pretty far-out kids and has an awakening, one that involves Janis Joplin, love, and what seems like a lot of acid. When one of his friends almost dies of an overdose, he and a girl he has a thing for ditch the drugs. Greg is looking for a new direction, on a rainy night, when all seems lost, he meets Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie), who is about to change Greg’s life. As Lonnie just listens to Greg, he comes around more, and Lonnie leads Greg into the light that is Jesus. Greg has discovered a new found life, one that is giving him his purpose. Lonnie though is not just leading Greg into that light, he has an entire a flock, soon Pastor Smith’s dead church has been reborn with new members, ones he once feared. This takes us to that moment back on that beach, where a new revolution is taking place, this one involving Jesus.

Based on the real life story of Greg Laurie, a pastor and author who co-wrote the book the film is based on. For the screen, Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn want to tell a story that is more than entertainment, they also want to spread the good word in a way that is more palatable and maybe starting a new revolution is.

Unlike most films taking on this subject matter, Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle, who are listed as co-directors, don’t dwell on pounding the message home. With that said  there is no questioning that during the lowest point in your life, belief in God can be a true inspiration. The cast is game for the story they are telling, in particular Roumie, who as Frisbee, plays a hippie messenger of faith. I will say that faith-based films like this have gotten better, but from a movie stand point, Jesus Revolution can be pretty bland. Although I say that, I know that different eyes will see different flaws or in some cases the lack of them. For the interesting history behind the story, some will see the glory behind it, while other will notice how neutered the story is from the real one. Movies like this still have a way to go for me, as I think they are too uncritical of stories they are telling. But that is not to say that people will get more from this and being inspired by a film is something I can easily relate to.

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