"Revealing Someone Better"
THE LAST SIN EATER could well be one of the best movies 2007, but it could also win an award for least appealing title. It’s a tremendous story of God’s grace and truth setting the captives free, but until you understand the title you would sooner go see some despicable horror show with a more Christian-sounding title.
In 1850s Appalachia, a 10-year-old girl named Cadi Forbes (Liana Liberato) is scolded by her mother and runs to her favorite hiding place on the opposite side of a deep but narrow gorge. Her younger sister follows and falls to her death when trying to cross the log that Cadi had safely crossed. Wracked with guilt, Cadi seeks the help of a man the Irish immigrant community called “The Sin Eater.” This person was a member of the community whose name was drawn from a hat. His only job was to come to funerals and perform a ceremony in which he takes the sins of the deceased upon himself by eating bread, drinking wine left for him on the chest of the deceased and by swearing an oath to take the person’s sins. The community’s “sin eater” lives as a cursed outcast in the hills outside of town. He only comes to town for funerals (held at night), and no one is supposed to even look at him while he performs his ritual.
Cadi is so overwhelmed with feelings of guilt she wants to find the “sin eater” and have him “eat” her sin while she’s still alive. Cadi’s mother shows little love or concern for Cadi following the death of her sister. Cadi’s father is much more compassionate.
A stranger shows up in the community with a Bible and a heart to preach the Gospel. He is not welcomed. Running the close-knit community is the domineering father of Cadi’s friend, Fagan Kai (Soren Fulton). There are dark secrets about the community that led to the supposed need for a “sin eater.” The stranger manages to share the Gospel with Cadi and Fagan and explain how sins can truly be forgiven. This sets in motion both violence and redemption.
THE LAST SIN EATER is boldly Christian. Where END OF THE SPEAR toned down the Christian testimony of the missionaries martyred in the Amazon jungle, THE LAST SIN EATER boldly proclaims the Biblical truths that can change a community of killers into loving saints. It is not shy about proclaiming the name above all names, “Jesus.” At the same time, it is not preachy. The Gospel is proclaimed quickly and clearly, first is words, then in action.
There are a few slow spots and some brief special effects appear to use methods out of the 1960s, but the acting is excellent, the story compelling and the movie’s overall appearance first rate. MOVIEGUIDE® heartily commends the Fox Faith division of 20th Century Fox for their part in getting this movie made. We are disappointed that it appeared with so little fanfare. This inspiring movie may be the best-kept secret of 2007.
(CCC, BBB, VV, A, M) Very strong Christian worldview with very strong biblical worldview, including overt references to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, man comes to redeem those deluded by false religious beliefs and rituals; no foul language but the word “Hell” is used but not as an obscenity; some strong violence such as man beaten to death, boy beaten severely, brief flashback scene of Indians being massacred, girl falls to her death; no sex or nudity; wine is consumed in false religious ritual; no smoking; and, there is lying and dishonesty but it is rebuked and forgiveness is sought and received.
THE LAST SIN EATER is a tremendous story of God’s grace and truth setting the captives free in 1850s Appalachia. It is the story of a young girl named Cadi seeking forgiveness for the death of her sister in an accident she believed she caused. Cadi has been raised in a community that believes in a tradition involving a “sin eater” -- a man who takes on himself the sins of the dead. A stranger comes with the good news that Jesus already paid the price for our sins. The clash of beliefs leads to violence and redemption.
THE LAST SIN EATER contains a few slow spots and some special effects that seem outdated, but the acting is excellent, the story compelling and the movie’s overall appearance first rate. Violence and false religious beliefs are overcome by the love of God and a man whom God sends to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. MOVIEGUIDE® heartily commends the Fox Faith division of 20th Century Fox for their part in getting this movie made. We are disappointed that it appeared with so little fanfare. The movie may be the best-kept secret of 2007.