Reviewed by: Gary Knox
You will probably come away from this movie feeling good. The gospel music is energetic and often uplifting. And the script is good at drawing out empathy for preachers' wives and how they have to share their loved one with so many others—an ongoing marital tension that most of us don’t normally face.
“The Preacher’s Wife” has several engaging subplots, but is primarily about an angel (Denzel Washington) who is sent to help a preacher, his family, and their struggling inner-city church. The pastor is losing his religious vision and energy, and for good reason! He is “doing it all.” He serves everyone but his wife and child. The angel’s main assignment seems to be that of helping the pastor to re-prioritize his home life and ministry, but he is diverted by his desire to give the preacher’s wife (Whitney Houston) the attention and encouragement she desperately lacks. Adding tension to the whole situation is a businessman who plans to commercially develop the church property and surrounding neighborhood.
After saving an innocent youth from jail time, the preacher takes a stand against the developer. His energy is rekindled, but his “do it all” style has not changed …and his wife draws ever-closer to the angel.
While never blatently overstepping the boundaries of good taste, the story does center heavily on the romantic attraction of the angel to the preacher’s wife. The angel (a deceased human rather than a created being) has many human traits and desires, muddling somewhat his “assignment” with the preacher and his wife. In the end, however, things work out right and most viewers can be seen smiling or crying.
If you are looking for a thoughtful religious message, look a little farther. It’s not here. If you are just looking for a feel good message, however, this one will probably hit the spot.
Year of Release—1996