Apostle, The
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

In New Boston, Texas, things are going pretty well for Pentecostal preacher Sonny Dewey (Robert Duvall) until he discovers that his wife Jessie (Farrah Fawcett) is having an affair with the youth minister at his church. And he has to leave town fast when he loses control and strikes and kills the youth minister. The Lord tells him to go to a bayou town in Louisiana where he teams up with a black pastor to remodel his church and rebuild his congregation. Sonny's likable, compassionate demeanor appeals to many of the locals and his church begins to grow, drawing members both from black and white residents. His services are rousing affairs with lively gospel singing, shouting and dancing in the spirit. Even though he still loves his wife, Sonny develops a relationship with Tootsie (Miranda Richardson), an attractive woman at the local Christian radio station. But his past is destined to catch up with him. Duvall gives a very compelling performance in this intriguing drama. It will probably not appeal to a wide audience, but will find a substantial following among those who are attracted to this type of film. It has also been mentioned as an Academy Award contender.

More often than not, Hollywood portrays preachers and evangelists as bumbling idiots or conniving con artists. In this case, though, Dewey is portrayed as a sincere, though flawed, preacher who loves the Lord. He also loves people and sincerely wants to help them, both black and white. But he admits that he has been a "womanizer" in the past and tends to lose his temper. Overall, he and the charismatic services he conducts are portrayed honestly and fairly. However, he does not clearly repent for his past sins and at times seems somewhat arrogant. To his credit, though, he does not become involved sexually with Tootsie and the only sexual element in the film is one scene showing Jessie and the youth minister in bed. And only a limited number of mild and moderately rough words are included in the dialogue. Even though it is somewhat demeaning to portray a preacher who has fallen into sin, THE APOSTLE overall is an unbiased uplifting film which can be recommended.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Distributor: October Films, 65 Bleecker St., NY, NY 10112

Crude Language: Several(6) times - Mild 3, Moderate 3
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Few times - Moderate(preacher kills man with baseball bat, pulls wife by hair, two men fist fight)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once (couple in bed-no nudity)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Once (man drinks whiskey from bottle)
Other: Preacher sincerely serves the Lord, but falls into sin on occasion; preacher doesn't clearly repent from his sins; interracial services and harmony portrayed, preacher tries to reconcile with wife; Pentecostal services portrayed honestly
Running Time: 148 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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