The Least of These
by Phil Boatwright

Airs on cable television this December:
Starz Edge- Monday, December 7th 1:50am
Starz Cinema- Saturday, January 2nd 10:45am
Starz Cinema- Tuesday, January 12th 12:15pm

Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy), Robert Loggia (Oscar-nominee, Jagged Edge; Big), and Bob Gunton (The Shawshank Redemption, Patch Adams). Written and directed by Nathan Scoggins, and executive produced by Ralph Winter, a Christian brother responsible for X-Men and Fantastic Four.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Andre James (Isaiah Washington) is an African-American priest who returns to his former Catholic boarding school to accept a teaching job. Upon his arrival he is told that the priest he is replacing resigned and that he will be taking over his classes, but the headmaster (Robert Loggia) and a few of his fellow priests have “concerns” and vow to keep an eye on him.

Within the first few weeks of getting to know the students, Father James grows close with quiet and withdrawn student named Parker, while other Priests warn Father James to be careful.

A student reporter named Eddie and a few of his curious friends are certain that there was foul play involved with the former priest and believe that he did not voluntarily leave the school. The students find a secret room in the basement of the school, which holds all of the former priests’ belongings. When Father James finds the students down there and sees everything, he also becomes skeptical and suspects that the priest may have been murdered by someone at the school.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Faith in Christ is slyly portrayed in this mystery/drama. Though there are no conversion scenes or religious platitudes spoken, the lead character is dealing with childhood abuse as well as helping other youngsters in his school confront their similar nightmares by something deep inside him. The man’s a priest, he has sworn to forsake all others for his Savior. Though he was wronged physically by a man of the cloth, he has become a devout follower of Christ.

Corrie Ten Boom, imprisoned by the Nazis for aiding Jews during WWII, declared, “there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” This is reflected in Father James’ life. Though he could have turned off to the world, he has been strengthened spiritually, enabling him to serve the world.

Though a bit slow-moving, the film is entertaining and ultimately uplifting, with a suspenseful story and a lead character who is a positive role model. While it deals with serious issues, including child molestation, it does so discreetly, saving us from having to witness any such cruelty. Not rated, I found nothing objectionable.