"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God." -St Irenaeus of Lyon

Movie Review: The Least Among You

Normally, I am an absolute sucker for movies based on a true story.  They tend to be movies rooted in the human experience in a way that strikes deep at the emotional core.  Well-chosen stories have the ability to speak for themselves, even if not rendered by the best movie producers.  I’m generally hesitant when it comes to Christian movies as the plot tends to be hokey and obvious.  But when the chance came to view “The Least Among You,” the story of Richard Kelly’s journey as the first black man to attend an all-white seminary, I thought for sure I would be watching an impressive film.

In a word, this movie absolutely defied my expectations in that it was generally terrible.  The broader story got lost in the midst of choppy editing and some badly constructed scenes.  The movie failed to answer any of the questions that it raised: What happened in the life of the former missionary that turned her into a skeptic regarding the voice of God?  What transpired to turn the heart of Kelly towards ministry? What is the deal with the character of this school?  The only bright spot of the movie was Richard’s relationship with Samuel, the caretaker of the school.

The movie opens with a claim that the school only wants black followers.  Yet Kelly as scripted seems to amount to anything but a leader.  He is exhorted continually to try to get to know the people he has been charged to inspire, but he refuses.  We find nothing to admire in Kelly as a leader except that he is willing to approach the podium to speak his mind.  The true hero of the story appears to be his white roommate from Texas who rallies people behind Kelly’s cause of integration.

The thing is that I really wanted to like this movie.  The stories of integration and racial reconciliation have so many characters and layers that I cannot help but be moved by a number of them.  But I can’t follow a film that lacks a driving story line and some connective tissue between the scenes.  I also know that while it’s not a powerhouse of film production, Lionsgate could have done much better with this film especially considering their movie Pride, based on the true story of Grady Harp.

Rating?  1.5 stars.

As a blogger I participate in Booksneeze, where Thomas Nelson Publishing provides me with free copies of the books and movies I review.  I am not required to post a positive review and all of these opinions are my own.


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