‘Redeeming Love’ is not the tear-jerker it’s made out to be

Photo courtesy of IMDb

By Lauren Holcomb | Reporter

As a female student on Baylor’s campus, it has been seemingly impossible to escape the constant chatter about the new movie “Redeeming Love.” Released in theaters on Jan. 21, this new film centered around the power of love with a focus on Christianity, but was not what I expected it to be after hearing raving reviews from my peers.

The storyline is based on the novel “Redeeming Love,” written by Francine Rivers in 1991. I have not read the book myself, so I cannot attest to its comparison to the movie. Rather, my review is from the perspective of a young female adult and how I view the movie’s interpretations and portrayals of love and Christianity.

The shell of the movie was very well executed. Set in California during the gold rush era, I thought the setting was very well portrayed and constructed, and the cinematography was high quality. The costuming and casting for each character was believable, and I enjoyed that I had never seen most of the actors on screen before. The usage of more underground actors and actresses allowed me to trust the storyline, rather than watching it as another cliché romantic film where the same actors and actresses play the same stock characters.

Where we dive into the content of the movie is where I take issue. The storyline was almost too easy to follow. I never found myself lost or confused with what was happening, but it bordered on predictable. There was not much dialogue, which can sometimes be powerful, but I wish there had been more straightforward dialogue between characters about the issues at hand. The silence amounted to a lot of nothing rather than having a powerful unspoken effect.

The acting was also extremely unbelievable. It was mediocre at best. Many of the characters had accents that they were not properly trained for, leaving their lines to sound unnatural and almost comical. I found myself cringing many times at how cliché the facial expressions were, and overall, the lack of acting skills made me uncomfortable.

The main character, Angel, was sold into prostitution at a very young age, and the trauma from this played a huge role in how she acted. This topic is difficult to tackle well, and I found myself longing for Angel to talk more about her path to mental freedom. The trauma accompanying sexual abuse is not something to be portrayed lightly, and this film barely touched on it at all.

I understood the Christian ideology of God’s forgiveness and love being shown, and I thought the movie did a good job of depicting those ideas. Michael Hosea, a farmer, asks for God to show him a sign to find a companion, and God points him to Angel. He fights for her, shows her constant forgiveness every time she leaves him and he always welcomes her with love. The exact ideas of how God forgives His children are shown well through Michael’s storyline.

Overall, I found “Redeeming Love” to be an OK film. It did not bring me to wallowing tears as it did for many fans, but it was not the worst I have ever seen. However, I would not recommend spending time and money to go see it yourself. It was extremely basic; Every idea and storyline included has been done much better in other films. If you want to watch a predictable romantic film based heavily on Christian beliefs, this may be the movie for you. “Redeeming Love” is nothing special, and I did not find it worth the watch.