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Movie Review

Preacher's Kid

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving some sexual content, violence and brief drug use.

Reviewed by: Scott Brennan
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Genre:
Christian Romance Drama
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
January 29, 2010 (select theaters—100+ theaters)
DVD: May 4, 2010
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment

Story of the prodigal son in the Bible


Repentance

Teen issues

ANXIETY, worry and fear—What does the Bible say? Answer

Christian living

What advice do you have for new and growing Christians? Answer

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity—such as smoking, gambling, etc.—is wrong? Answer

CHURCH—Why should Christians go to church? How important is it? Answer


DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer


FORGIVENESS—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

GUILT—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Forgiveness of sin


Women in the Bible

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad.


To learn about other Christian produced movies, see our Christian Film News site.

Featuring: Letoya Luckett (Angie), Tammy Townsend (Desiree), Carlos Davis (Biscuit), Andre Butler (Markus), Nadiyah Hollis (Performer), Javen Campbell (Garrett), Clayton English (Terrence), Kelly Finley (Meghan), Ella Joyce (Sister Watkins), Tank (Devlin), Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly (Marcia), Dawnn Lewis (Mya), Gavin Luckett (Gavin), King Kedar (Marcus), Deetta West (Emma), Mari White (Keya), more »
Director: Stan Foster
Producer: Stan Foster Pictures, Warner Specialty Productions, Marc Bienstock, Richard J. Cook, Matthew Crouch, Stan Foster, Darryl Taja
Distributor: Gener8Xion Entertainment
Official site

“The Preacher’s Kid” could really be anyone’s kid, in terms of a young early “20-something” adult/child wanting to break out on her own, and experience life for herself, out from under the shadow of her father. But in this film, the PK’s name is Angie King (Letoya Luckett), daughter of the widower, Bishop King (Gregalan Williams)—who is a pastor, a preacher and a pillar in the Augusta, Georgia population. Angie has grown up taking care of daddy (since her mother died when she was a girl), supporting him by: helping keep the home, helping take care of his asthma, singing in the choir, and, generally, being at church anytime the doors were open—you know the drill.

But all that support goes out the window when Angie’s childhood dream comes floating into view one night in the form of a gospel-theatrical-tour-group, one that may take her from the church choir loft onto a stage in New York City. Of course, that lure comes complete with an instant infatuation with the silky-smooth-talkin’ star of the troupe, named Devlin (Durrell “Tank” Babbs) who promises her the world. Sound familiar? It should. He’s the antagonist in every Christian’s life. Just drop the “n” off of Devlin—and rearrange a couple of letters and “presto”—there he is—like an angel of light.

And so the journey (detour) begins with the befitting dialogue. “I’m leaving Daddy. I’ve wanted this—my whole life!” she cries. “I’m grown now, and I don’t need your permission! I’m sorry Daddy, but I have to do this for me!” What follows is the expected response from an overprotective parent, “If you walk out that door, don’t even think about coming back…” (paraphrased). I won’t outline more of the story than that—since this is such a familiar coming of age genre based on the biblical account of the prodigal. However, if you need a glimpse of the remainder of the storyline it can be seen in the official trailer(s), and I emphasize the plural, as there were a few of them. [Warning: one of the longer, earlier trailers on YouTube I would consider a “spoiler”—so be careful if you intend to see this movie in the theater.]

Background

The film’s target audience is likely the underserved urban community, particularly the African-American one, but its “relate-ability-factor” is high, and it easily crosses over into mainstream—as simply as “The Preacher’s Wife” did with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington back in 1996. As stated above, the prodigal plot is a familiar one, retold in this modern parable that closely resembles a remix of “Dreamgirls” and perhaps one of Tyler Perry’s more serious films—which makes for great entertainment on top of a timeless story. I mean, Letoya Luckett can sing, and it’s not about “luck” (pun intended). She has a God-given gift, well-known to many already, but this is her first time acting in a feature film, and she really lights up the screen.

However, the movie doesn’t rest solely on the laurels of platinum-selling Luckett (one of the original members of the R&B singing sensations “Destiny’s Child”). Its foundation is the thoughtful screenplay by Stan Foster (“Woman Thou Art Loosed”), who also makes his directorial debut with this feature film and should be commended for a job well done. Additional commendations are in order for Matthew Crouch and Gener8Xion Entertainment for continuing to press in to provide quality Christian-themed films with moral and family values.

These “firsts” are backed by a shining supporting cast of additional talent, including current Grammy® nominee Trey Songz (Monty), Sharif Atkins of “White Collar” (USA Network) who plays Wynton—Angie’s duet partner in the film (one of my favorite scenes), Essence Atkins—plays the lovable, say-it-like-it-is, Peaches, EMI Gospel recording artist Kiki Sheard, veteran actor Clifton Powell, who plays Ike, R&B singer and producer “Tank,” playing Devlin, and, finally, a standout performance by Tammy Townsend, portraying Desiree Davis—the character I believe may have grown the most in the film. If I were writing a sequel, she would be in the script for sure. And, finally, perhaps the most important support of all was the original music by Tim Miner, which gave the film such color, depth, and emotion.

Content for Concern

The PG-13 rating for obvious mature themes, sexuality, some violence and brief drug use are appropriate. Devlin’s character exhibits the darkest parts of the film with effects like enticing Angie to lose her virginity—which include a couple of kissing scenes, sensual touching, and fornication, which is inferred (not shown). There is another scene where he is smoking a joint, another where he slaps her across the face, and another more upsetting time, when he punches her behind a corner (not shown) out of jealousy. There are a couple of bruises that are shown on Angie’s face, also implying the domestic violence and one troubling time when he grabs her by the throat and moments later mutters something close to “Be in my bed when I get back or somebody else will be.”

Devlin is the definitive “player,” and it goes beyond his two-timing throughout the film. Besides the lies, his temper flares unexpectedly, which adds to the suspense. In the beginning she resists the alcohol, but later gives in—which even leads to her smoking pot on one occasion—after she has already left him and yet, sadly, found herself talking her way back into “the abyss.”

It is a little difficult to watch, at times, but, of course, this story doesn’t work, unless, like the prodigal, you finally wake up and find that you’re in the pigsty, and should go home to your father.

To test the content level, I spoke with a couple of moms with their teenage daughters after the film to ask them what they thought about it. Their responses were: “Loved it.” and “It was great and especially important for those who are younger—like our girls, who need to see what challenges may come in their futures. We were really blessed by this film.”

Summary and Spiritual Significance

The reason this film works is because it speaks to us all. It reveals the human condition and the deceitfulness of the heart (Jer. 17:9), even for those who are raised up in the church. The battle to be waged is identical for everyone, against our 3 common foes: (1) the world (1 John 2:15), (2) the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), and (3) the devil (1 Peter 5:8). There will always be Devlin’s appearing in our lives with that same old line, “When are you going to start experiencing life for yourself?” It’s the same line he’s been using for 6,000 years. It looks like freedom, at first, to an innocent girl from Georgia who has a heart full of dreams. But before you know it, you’re in over your head. That’s when Devlin says, “Would you ever say no to me?” In the movie, Angie answers, “That’s a dangerous question,” but in our lives, by that time, we know it’s too late. We know that we can’t say no to our drug of choice—be it fame, fortune or medication. It’s time to pay up—it’s time for the sacrifice. Freedom has been replaced with bondage, and we, like Angie, scarcely know how it happened. The gig is up, and only death and destruction await us without repentance on our part, and that—comes only by the grace of God.

Because of the strong positive message, I can confidently recommend this film for adults and mature teens, even though we know this story so well. It never grows old.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Official site

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I am a pastor of a small church, and I have been wanting to see this film since it came out. I watched it with 2 of my teen age children, and I was impressed by the movie, and yet provoked at the struggle of good and evil so well portrayed in this film (so were my kids).

I know many Christians are going to be offended at the substance, showing the pull of sin on our precious ones, but this is life and should be revealed in film as art is an imitation of life. At this moment, one of my PK’s is being drawn into the very real lies of “Devlin,” and it made this film all the more difficult and all the more real.

Scott’s review is very accurate and the recommendation for mature teens is accurate as well. Our teens are subject to all these temptations and more with Internet porn, video games, music and music videos. The film shows sin in it’s reality, but is not graphic in display, but also reveals the redemption of the Prodigal Parable.

This movie, like “To Save a Life” is more likely to have an influence on the young generation that is not churched, because it is more real. We can’t candy coat reality and try to show an American teen that the world as we know it is a “G” film. The Bible is full of murder, adultery, suicide, and witchcraft and many of the heroes of the bible were the very ones committing these horrible acts. Should our movies try to paint a different picture. “Veggie Tales” is appropriate for children; this movie is appropriate for mature teens and adults who need a wake up call.

The music and story were also excellent and I commend and appreciate all who were involved in the production.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—John Henry, age 55 (USA)
Negative
Negative—This is not a …how to represent neither Christ nor Christians. The message: make your own experiences, live in sin, forget about your faith and in the end everything is fine. If it would be so easy why should any young person in this world follow Christ then? What about the fact that the life of a christian has a lot more to offer than the life of the people in the world does?!!!…

If someone falls, of course, the only way is to turn back into the arms of a loving and forgiving God that’s right but falling hurts and it takes time to get well again. Unlike in this movie. The story is: Mess up your life and still you reach as far as those who stayed in line with God. For God, nothing is impossible. He can turn your failure into your testimony. That’s right.

But what about the lively churches of today being creative, innovative and everything else than boring! Churches that guarantee personal freedom but at the same time show a biblical way TO ENJOY life. This should be the message for this generation and this is how we should portray Christ to the world! The movie only showed stereotypes (of Christians) wrapped in a poor script.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Malaika, age 26 (Germany)
Negative—Nothing in this move said “true Christian” to me. I see a story about a girl who went her own way and that decided to smarten up, on her own. She made amends with her Dad which is nice. But there was no repentance to Christ for her sins.

There is some very offensive content in the movie, which could be looked at as her “living a sinful life” at the time, I suppose. But all the regret shown is towards how it hurt her (which is bad, yes), but not towards how it hurts our Father. It seemed to me to be about a worldly girl living a worldly life and getting hurt by her choices; so she decides it’s time to be strong and change her own life and be more “moral”—but not godly. No confession to God, no repentance.

The movie had some nice music in it and some talented singers for sure.

But all in all the movie is a lot like the play that is in it, it talks the talk but does not walk the walk. And I’m more weary of a movie that falsely portrays its self as Christian, than one that has the same content and did not make that claim. At least it would be honest.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Tia, age 27 (Canada)