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How ORDINARY ANGELS Director Makes ‘Faith Believable’

Screenshot from Kingdom Story Company’s YouTube

How ORDINARY ANGELS Director Makes ‘Faith Believable’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Jon Gunn, who’s worked on movies like JESUS REVOLUTION, AMERICAN UNDERDOG and I STILL BELIEVE, explained why makes faith “believable” in his films.

“I feel like great stories want to grapple with complicated issues, right? And faith is a complicated issue,” Gunn said on Andrew Erwin’s “The Storytellers” podcast. “I think the idea when you talk about faith in film, so often that those two words go together like a faith film, and that feels like a movie that’s just presenting, in a positive way, a worldview, which is boring.”

“To me, that’s the antithesis of like good storytelling. So you know what I want to do with any story that I tell is like get into the mud,” he continued. “Humans are complicated. The stories we choose to tell each other are hopefully the interesting ones.”

Although humans are complex, faith can be more difficult to understand because people struggle to believe something they cannot see.

“Faith is a really complicated issue in life. Whether you’re a person of faith or not or somewhere in between, it’s challenging to live life believing in something, especially something that you can’t always see or feel,” Gunn explained.

“So, with the CASE FOR CHRIST, specifically, that was a challenging project just because the book is based on Lee Strobel’s journey from atheist to believer,” he added. “But the book is laid out primarily as a series of interviews and conversations, you know, with theologists and scholars and stuff. So, the challenge of that story was finding the human story.”

Gunn recently directed ORDINARY ANGELS, which releases on Feb. 23.

“It’s a story that needed to be told,” he said of the movie. “It’s an unbelievable true story that was inspiring but also just really honest and filled with real human drama. It also has a third act that took place during the worst snowstorm in Louisville history in 1994.”

“ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels,” a synopsis reads.

Movieguide® praised the movie’s strong Christian worldview. Part of the review reads:

ORDINARY ANGELS is a very exciting movie. It’s also extremely heartrending because it shows many people volunteering to help this little girl. Even the television station in the small community helps and asks people for prayer. Frankly, very few movies have so well integrated Christian faith, values and entertainment together like ORDINARY ANGELS. That said, MOVIEGUIDE® suggests light caution for younger children because of the mother’s death and moments where the little girl vomits blood.

Movieguide® previously reported:

Director Jon Gunn says his latest project, ORDINARY ANGELS, is full of hope, joy and community.

“It’s interesting how stories make their way to you,” he told Movieguide®. “With ORDINARY ANGELS, I was in the midst of doing a slate of movies with Lionsgate [like AMERICAN UNDERDOG, I STILL BELIEVE and JESUS REVOLUTION] and in the midst of that relationship, they came to me and said, ‘We have a project we really love that we feel would be a good fit.’”

…Gunn read the script and instantly connected with the story of community.

“The true story was kind of hard to believe, you know?” he said. “It’s one of my favorite combinations where it’s got real life issues, real stakes. It’s not a movie that has easy answers, but it’s got so much hope and so much joy at the heart of it, and so I really enjoy that balance.”

The director called ORDINARY ANGELS “uplifting and hopeful,” adding, “This is a movie about community, coming together, and it’s a story about how helping other people can help us heal ourselves.”

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.