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MOVIE REVIEW

Same Kind of Different as Me also known as “Genauso anders wie ich”

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for thematic elements including some violence and language.

Reviewed by: John Johnson
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Adults • Young Adults
Genre:
Drama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 59 min.
Year of Release:
2017
USA Release:
October 20, 2017 (wide—1,362 theaters)
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Relevant Issues
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bridging culture gaps

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What is Christian LOVE? Answer

What is GOODNESS? Answer

What are GOOD WORKS? Answer

What is RIGHTEOUSNESS? Answer

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cultural and racial bias

alcoholism

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Featuring: Greg KinnearRon Hall
Renée ZellwegerDeborah Hall
Djimon HounsouDenver
Jon VoightEarl Hall
Olivia Holt … Regan Hall
Dana Gourrier … Willow
Lara Grice … Bobby's Mom
Peyton Wich … Young Bobby
Ann Mahoney … Clara
Stephanie Leigh Schlund … C.C.
Thomas Francis Murphy … Chef Jim
See all »
Director: Michael Carney
Producer: Disruption Entertainment
Skodam Films
One October Films
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Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Pure Flix Entertainment

Friendships can come in the most unlikely of places, if you open up your heart.

If there was one thing that I thought as I came out of my viewing, it was the above. “Same Kind of Different As Me” is based on the best-selling novel and true story of Ron Hall (played by Greg Kinnear) and Denver Moore (Djimon Hounsou). Ron is a wealthy international art dealer. In growing rich, he has also become increasingly self-absorbed, selfish and distant from his family.

At one of his auctions, his female colleague gives him a serious ultimatum. Either he tells his wife Debbie (Renée Zellweger) about his “little friend” or else she will do it herself. Ron chooses to fess up.

Although they argue and Debbie feels betrayed, she gives Ron a choice. He can leave her, or he can stay. He chooses to stay, and she gives him a second chance, displaying biblical mercy and patience.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” —2 Peter 3:9

Our Lord is a God of forgiveness and second chances.

That same night, Debbie has a dream about a poor wise man who changes their city. This sets the stage for the second act.

In giving Ron a second chance, Debbie strongly urges him to do some self-sacrificing service with her at the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, a Fort Worth homeless shelter. He reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, Debbie has the strong impression that her strange dream came from God. So she determines to keep watch to not miss seeing this man, if he is real and crosses her path.

One day at the mission, Debbie’s wish is granted, although her first encounter with Denver is anything but pleasant, and he is far from being the man he will one day become. After the mission’s service lets out, Denver comes stomping into the cafeteria threatening to kill everybody in there, because somebody stole his shoes. Debbie boldly gets up into Denver’s face, which eventually causes him to leave the room. After considering the encounter, Debbie tells Ron that Denver strongly resembles the man in her dream, and that she wants Ron to befriend him. Ron is quite uncomfortable with this, but he ends up doing it for his wife.

Although his initial attempts are unsuccessful, Ron eventually succeeds in befriending Denver. This is where we delve deeper into Denver’s life story. Born in rural Louisiana, he grew up with his aunt and uncle on what amounted to a cotton plantation in Red River Parish. However, when his home got burned down, killing his Aunt, his uncle ends up selling him into sharecropping—in this case, an arrangement so unfavorable to Denver that he considers it modern day slavery.

Eventually, Denver escapes and becomes a drifter in the city. Starving and desperate, he tries to rob a bus driver of his cash, but gets caught and is sent to prison. Upon release, he is once again homeless.

While walking one day, he notices his childhood friend’s mother has a flat tire. Even though Denver tries to be kind, things go horribly wrong (I won’t give this spoiler away). Suffice it to say that this event ends up explaining why Denver initially refused to talk to white people, especially white women.

Even though Denver is initially a very angry man, he lightens up after he sees true kindness in Debbie and Ron. The couple does their best to help Denver, even letting him stay at their house. He eventually becomes almost like family to them. Eventually a lifelong friendship flourishes between the three, much to the disappointment of Ron’s dad (Jon Voight).

Denver eventually predicts that since Debbie so faithfully does God’s work, that something bad will happen to her, because if one is so faithful to God, they are especially important to the Devil, because Satan does anything to take down believers in Christ. This leads to the final act.

Debbie eventually gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. She initially struggles with this, but realizes that God has a better plan. When she passes away, we see the impact that she had on her community, because of her acts of kindness, and devotion to God.

From a moral and artistic standpoint this movie is really good. The acting is pretty good, and the pacing is great. It emphasizes the importance that just a simple act of kindness can make such a big difference. It also offers lessons on forgiveness and healing, which our divided nation right now so desperately needs.

There is very little objectionable content. Almost all of the violence is not shown, but implied and bloodless. There is no nudity or sex. It is implied that Jon Voight’s character is an alcoholic, and there are a few milder obscenities like damn. Otherwise, this movie is family-friendly.

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  • Violence: Mild
  • Profane language: Mild
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None

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


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