The story of a young man changed by a movement as well as those involved is the focus of this great film from the duo of Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle.
In the early 1970s, Greg Laurie is a high school graduate readying to join the military. One day, he comes across a group of hippies just having a good time and he instantly takes a liking to one of them, Cathe. Meanwhile, Lonnie Frisbee, a hippie who resembles Jesus, is convinced he is a prophet ready to spread the word and needs some help. He meets the daughter of local pastor Chuck Smith, who is at first reluctant but ultimately opens his church to the young people who need something more than the use of drugs.
Eventually, Cathe, reeling from the overdose death of a loved one, joins Chuck’s church and upon meeting Greg again, convinces him to join as well. Greg becomes very involved in the community and even gains the praises of both Chuck and Lonnie. So much that Greg has a chance to become a youth pastor representing the church. Greg also sees the church as an escape for his home life, in which his mother finds herself constantly drinking and getting involved with the wrong men. Soon enough, Lonnie becomes to go overboard, and Chuck begins to get worried. Despite the friction, the movement hits an all-time high and is deemed a “Jesus Revolution”.
Based on the novel and true story of Greg Laurie, this is a terrific film that actually took seven years to get off the ground. For directors Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle, this is a passion project that brings to life both old and new generations the story of a changing revolution that occurred post-Woodstock. The movement changed the wave and views of hippies as they switch to finding drugs to finding God and we see the points of view from three individuals, including Laurie.
If anyone goes through the most change in the film, it is Laurie, played by The Kissing Booth saga’s Joel Courtney. He changes from a somewhat shy kid to a more confident young man whose journey with God and the revolution would change his life for the better. He struggles with life at home with Kimberly Williams-Paisley playing his alcoholic mother, and he also falls for Cathe, played by Anna Grace Barlow. We briefly get a bit on Cathe’s life. Coming from a rich family, she struggles with the death of a dear friend from a drug overdose and sees joining the movement as something positive to overcome her past life.
Jonathan Roumie is excellent in the role of Lonnie Frisbee, the “prophet” who kickstarts the revolution upon meeting the daughter of Chuck Smith. Lonnie has this resemblance to Jesus, and sees himself as the man himself at times, believing he can heal those in need. Meanwhile, Chuck, played by Kelsey Grammar, starts out as a conservative pastor who is skeptical upon meeting Lonnie. He gives it a chance, but eventually relents and yet, seeing Lonnie may be going too far, sticks to his conservative ways when it is deemed necessary. He also acts a mentor to Greg, who finds his calling as the film progresses. It is great to see these three people change and take part in something mostly positive despite newspaper stories saying otherwise.
Jesus Revolution is a great coming of age true story as we see people find change through the movement of religion. Excellent performances by Joel Courtney, Jonathan Roumie, and Kelsey Grammar drive this great film worth checking out.
WFG RATING: A
Lionsgate presents a Kingdom Story Company production. Directors: Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle. Producers: Kevin Downes, Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, Jerilyn Esquibel, and Josh Walsh. Writers: Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn; based on the book by Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn. Cinematography: Akis Konstantakopoulos.
Cast: Joel Courtney, Jonathan Roumie, Kelsey Grammar, Anna Grace Barlow, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Ally Ioannides, Nic Bishop, Jean St. James, Steve Hanks, Nicholas Cirillo.
The film will have a special screening on February 22 followed a nationwide theatrical release on February 24.