"Never Surrender a Righteous Dream"
What You Need To Know:
SOUTHERN GOSPEL is packed with strong performances and good music on both the secular and religious fronts. It has a moving script and solid direction. SOUTHERN GOSPEL also has a strong Christian, Biblical worldview, with a heartfelt message of redemption and forgiveness. However, it does have some foul language, three intense bursts of violence and references to substance abuse. So, the movie isn’t suitable for young children. Yet, SOUTHERN GOSPEL tells a strong story of a prodigal son who begins to see the real light of Christ again.
SOUTHERN GOSPEL is a Christian-themed drama based on true events in the life of a 1960s rockstar and preacher’s son who falls away from his faith until a car accident puts him back on the road to redemption. SOUTHERN GOSPEL is packed with strong performances, good music on both the secular and religious fronts, a terrifically moving script, and solid direction and has a strong Christian worldview with a heartfelt message about redemption and forgiveness, but there is some foul language, violence and references to substance abuse and other sins.
The movie begins with Sam who is the young son of Joe Allen, a popular preacher (Gary Weeks), who pastors a strict evangelical church but also encourages Sam’s budding talents as a singer and guitarist. When Sam witnesses the tragic death of a friend, the harsh blame he receives from people in the church drives him to leave his faith behind and start a life of (almost entirely off-screen) debauchery.
Sam’s rock band becomes successful, but he himself gets addicted to drugs. A tragic car accident caused by a DUI kills the drummer in the band and leaves his best friend and bandmate, Barry (J. Alphonse Nicholson), burned and unable to play bass. A judge dismisses drug charges against Sam if he speaks to local churches and schools about the dangers of drugs. So, Sam must decide if this is a wake-up call to turn away from his life of sin and get saved.
Eventually, Sam’s combination of music and testimony to churches results in him being given a surprise offer to become the pastor in his father’s denomination. However, a church overseer named T.L. Whittmore, who travels around to give critiques of churches in his jurisdiction, jealously hates Sam and tries to sabotage him at every turn. Meanwhile, Sam’s wife Julie is a bedrock of support for him until she reveals a childhood tragedy that sends her into a serious depression, while Sam faces his own dark night of the soul.
Can Sam and Julie overcome their demons? Can Sam save his pastorship?
SOUTHERN GOSPEL has a strong Christian, Biblical worldview, with a heartfelt message of redemption and forgiveness. However, it has some foul language and other mature content. For example, there are three brief bursts of violence – two harsh hand slaps to faces and a fiery car crash, and a man grabs a gun with the intent of shooting another man before forgiving him – that might shake up some viewers momentarily. The movie also has depictions of drunkenness and a resulting DUI disaster, a prostitute that a newly Christian character calls amid temptation but turns away, and discussion, and a marijuana cigarette smoked in a negatively portrayed manner by a drunk driver.
Writer-Director Jeffrey A. Smith makes a highly impressive debut feature film here. The performances in SOUTHERN GOSPEL are all great, with a deep bench of young talent who are poised to gain great mainstream success as well. The original rock and spiritual songs are top-quality and believably popular, which is also a rare for any movie.
SOUTHERN GOSPEL is a strong tale of a fallen Christian who goes through a prolonged period of moral failings that only brings him sadness, before seeing the real light of Christ again. As such, it’s part of a movie that adults will enjoy with a bit of caution. It is not suitable for young children, however.
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