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The movie's premise is simple and effective. Euliss "Sonny" Dewey (played by Robert Duvall) is a Pentecostal preacher who has everything: a loving wife Jessie (Farrah Fawcett) and two adoring children; a doting mother (June Carter-Cash); and a thriving ministry. He is respected and loved by his church community.
But Sonny is also a womanizer, and a man who suspects his wife being involved in an adulterous relationship of her own. Jessie is indeed having an affair with Horace, the youth minister in their church. When Sonny discovers the truth about his wife, his life unravels. He is ousted as pastor of his church. One day, Sonny momentarily loses control, and in a drunken rage, smashes Horace's skull with a baseball bat.
Sonny flees from justice. Styling himself an itinerant preacher, he travels through rural southeastern Texas and into the bayou country of Louisiana. While he is traveling, he hears the voice of his conscience peck away at his vanity and worldly ways.
The majority of this beautiful film takes place in a small town in Louisiana's bayou country. Sonny, now self-baptized as "The Apostle E.F.," sets about resurrecting a small Pentecostal church which had fallen into disuse after the retirement of its pastor. With an infectious smile, eternally effervescent personality, and obvious love for the Lord, the "Apostle E.F.Read more ›
Rovert Duvall, in a role that was destined for him, plays the part of a eccentric preacher who is running from his problems. His problems, and there are many, force him to leave his mega-church and flee from police. His actions - which I won't spoil - are shocking but somewhat justifiable.
When out of town, the Apostle begins a multi-racial church in the deep south, cutting cross dividing lines while vigorously regaining his passion for the Lord. In it is in these moments, when he confronts his own lusts and fears, that the character of the Apostle shines through in honest, heart-bursting segments. He is a broken man, but still a man of God, just as many of the men and women of the Bible are. Bruised, battered, yet still willing. That's what I loved about this film. It is a true depiction of people who follow Jesus. We have misgivings, tempers, pride and lusts, yet, when it's all said and done, we can still move on.
There is one segment, when a racist bigot - played handsomely by Billy Bob Thorton -threatens to tear down the mult-racial church. The scene ends with Thorton's exclusionary character on his knees in deep remorse and weeping for forgiveness. It's a beautiful thing to behold.
This film is ruggedly honest and will make the pious and self-righteous crowd cringe with prudent dissaproval. But hey, those of you who are in touch with reality will probably love this film. I'm a preacher's kid and I know an honest attempt when I see one. This is it. Enjoy!
Then very subtly, a pattern begins to emerge. Through various circumstances, the man begins to recognize the consequences of his actions, and he begins to have a HEART change that accomplishes in him that reformation he was looking for. He sees a woman he was trying to seduce in the context of her family -- a family that looks very much like his own -- and his response tells us that his womanizing days are over. The first time he encounters an adversary, he beats the man into submission. The second time, he shows compassion, and the results are miraculous. Gradually, the man is led to a place of true repentance, a point of willingness to accept responsibility for his actions, and then, finally, he finds himself in a place where God can REALLY use his gift of ministry. It's subtle, just as God's work in real life is subtle, but those who know how God works will appreciate seeing this portrayal of the way he moves in the lives of men.
The movie was written, funded and produced by Robert Duvall, who as far as I know is not a Christian. He places his story in a Southern-style Pentecostal/Holiness church, so there are a few controversial issues, such as the ongoing ministry of apostles. But it's not trying to sell that particular theology so much as portray it in the context of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an amazing movie, Robert Duvall was outstanding!!!! Brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, tent revivals with sawdust on the ground, and hells fire and... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Rebecca Hanekamp
Great story of faith, tragedy, and sin. How God uses people to bring others to Him through our own personal struggles.Published 12 days ago by Mary
First of all, Robert Duvall. C'mon! He's a great actor. Then, the story itself is powerful and true. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Aviva Sheckett
I love this movie it is wonderful and you get to see God's grace.Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Robert Duvall clearly should have received the best actor award for his performancePublished 19 days ago by Richard LaPlante
Should've won an Oscar. Great story, great acting, thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommend it.Published 19 days ago by Elizabeth E. Lombard
Robert Duvall's story and presentation are just great! I highly recommend this movie.Published 26 days ago by mike81