Gavin Stone, a washed-up child star, is trying to find his next big break when he gets himself in big trouble with the law. As a settlement, the judge offers him a deal that includes required community service hours at a local church. Gavin accepts the deal and returns to his hometown to stay with his father, whom he has not spoken to in years. While working at the local church, Gavin stumbles upon a church play they are planning for Easter and decides to audition for it. However, in order to get the part of Jesus, he has to pretend that he is a Christian. But the longer he pretends, the more he becomes interested in what his new friends have to offer. He will have to decide how long he’s going to keep up the charade and whether or not he wants the real thing.
Production Quality (3 points)
With an adequate budget, wise spending, and clear talent, the production team of The Resurrection of Gavin Stone proves that churches can make high quality productions. There are no errors to point out here—camera work is professional and video quality is crisp. Audio quality is flawless and the soundtrack is adequate. The sets and locations are realistic and down to earth. There are also no editing problems; everything flows perfectly. In short, Vertical Church and the rest of this team set their minds to making a top-notch production, and it paid off.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
Throughout her writing career, Andrea Gyertson Nasfell has always shown that she has a knack for writing real-life comedy, especially church satire—Gavin Stone is no exception. Though this passed-around plot is formulaic and predictable, Nasfell takes it to its furthest potential, which is all we really ask of a writer. Though this appears to be a stereotypical small town setup, it’s really not of the Hallmark brand (which actually gets a subtle jab at one point). The characters are not plastic and cheesy, but instead are realistic and believable. Dialogue is highly effective and drives the plot, as it must in a predictable comedy. While the plot follows a stereotypical progression and this fact keeps it from being a higher score, this is the best anyone can do with this sort of idea. Nasfell has always had a lot of writing talent, and Gavin Stone showcases this once again. We can’t wait to see her break out into greatness one day.
Acting Quality (3 points)
Like the production team, the casting team went all out to make this portion quality. One character even says “Acting is about being yourself through the character.” This acting philosophy is reminiscent of the Kendrick\Erwin school of thought and is desperately needed in all of Christian film. Actors and actresses do not need to be who they are not, but instead need to act naturally and professionally in their character. Anjelah Johnson-Reyes demonstrates this extremely well in her first headlining role—she might be one of the best Christian actresses of our time. All other cast members also demonstrate poise and professionalism in all ways, thus warranting a perfect score.
Dallas Jenkins, Andrea Nasfell, and the rest of the team demonstrate in this film that it really isn’t that difficult to make a quality Christian film. With the right funding, a wise allocation of funds, a plot taken to its fullest potential, and a professional cast, anyone can make a Hall of Fame movie if they put their mind to it. With creators like these, there is hope for the tide of Christian entertainment to continue to turn. Now we ask Jenkins, Nasfell, Vertical Church, and everyone else involved in to use Gavin Stone as a springboard to even greater entertainment. They are on the verge of the upper echelon and we can’t wait to see what they have planned next.
Final Rating: 7 out of 10 points
Full disclosure: We were provided by the creator with a copy of this film in exchange for a fair and honest review
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While I am not usually excited about this type of predictable inspirational plot, in this movie the great characters and quality acting make this film worth watching. This proves that this kind of movie can be a very enjoyable experience if the audience can connect to the characters and appreciate their story. The film makers here pulled this off very well.
Bad acting and amateurish productions have made Christian movies a laughingstock but movies like this one show that there is hope. I still look forward to seeing Christians make different and creative ideas that can truly be championed as great, groundbreaking films but for now movies like this are a good place to start. We now have several different groups of creators making quality Christian movies which is way better than things were only a few years ago. This was a great way to start a new year in Christian film.
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