ORDINARY ANGELS Sets A New Bar For Christian Movies | Catholic Review

I’m sure most of you didn’t even have this movie on your radar, as there’s been little to no marketing for it. This is a shame because “Ordinary Angels” is an absolute delight of a film and, dare I say, even sets a new bar for Christian movies as a whole. Let’s dive into it here on Should Catholics.

Hi, I’m Mata Rivera, the Cinematic Catholic, and “Ordinary Angels,” starring Hilary Swank, is the true story of a hairdresser who single-handedly rallies an entire community to help a widowed father save the life of his critically ill young daughter. Guys, I have a lot to say about this movie, so let’s just dive right into it. First of all, Hilary Swank is phenomenal. She really channels her inner Erin Brockovich for this role. When we meet Sharon, she’s just cruising through life, a functioning alcoholic stuck in the same routine until she sees a newspaper article about a family that’s had a rough time lately. She takes it upon herself to fundraise and eventually bring the entire town together in support of this sick child.

Perfection Not Required

What I love about this movie right off the bat is that it shows you don’t have to be perfect to follow God’s will. Sharon has her own issues that she struggles with, and sometimes they even get the best of her. But still, there was a reason why she was placed in these people’s lives, and when push comes to shove, she does what is needed to make sure that this kid, Michelle, and her family are well taken care of. Also, I think we’ve finally cracked the code on how to make good Christian movies. Films like “God’s Not Dead” had their time, okay, that was certainly a movie. But now, with movies like “Father Stu” “Fatima”, “Cabrini,” and now this, I think the best way to make good movies that show how amazing God’s love and power is, is to tell the amazing true stories of the lives that He’s touched and how He has used people like Sharon Stevens to show His love to us. Because there really are some amazing real stories out there, from the lives of the saints to just everyday ordinary people, which is why I love the title of this movie, “Ordinary Angels.”

Now, I will say this film doesn’t quite escape the after-school special vibe completely, and there are a few points where the message itself is a little on the nose. There is one scene in particular where the dad and his eldest daughter are going to bring flowers to his wife’s grave, and at a certain point, his kid just turns and looks at him and says, “Dad, are you mad at God because mom died?” And it did take me out of the movie for a second, one, because that kid probably needs to learn how to be a little more subtle, and two, people don’t really talk like that. It did feel like the film was telling me, “And this is the point where we show that it’s tough to have a relationship with God sometimes, but communication and prayer.” And yeah, I mean, I’m sure you guys get it. But honestly, besides maybe two moments like that in the film, I was very invested and pulled completely into this story.

The Acting In Ordinary Angels

The acting from the entire cast across the board was pretty solid, especially with the kids, which, you know, sometimes can be a toss-up. Alan Richson was very good in this movie, and I know that he’s known for his more action roles and stuff like “Jack Reacher,” and granted, I’ve never watched that show, but he was very good at those small, subtle moments in this film when you can tell that all he wants to do is just break down and let everything out, but he feels that he needs to be strong for his kids. He has to keep moving forward, even if it takes everything that he has and then some to even just get out of bed in the morning. And I like that the film wasn’t afraid to address some of those darker topics, like depression and addiction with Sharon’s alcoholism.

Is Ordinary Angels A True Story?

Now, I did some fact-checking about this movie after I watched it because it’s just an amazing larger-than-life story. What I found was very interesting. Basically, the parts of the movie that you think had to be done for the film, like there’s no way that happened in real life, those parts are all true. But the character elements and some of the internal struggles that they have, that’s the part that Hollywood embellished a bit for the big screen. For example, there’s an entire plotline about how Sharon has a son and they’re estranged and haven’t spoken in years. Apparently, that’s not true, and the whole reason for them not speaking is her alcoholism, which also apparently is not true. In fact, the real Sharon Stevens was extremely against alcohol because her mom was an alcoholic, and she saw how devastating that can be. But again, I think it still works for the movie because it does show that, again, you don’t have to be perfect to follow God, but also it shows how alcoholism can affect you and those closest to you, which was a big belief that Sharon herself did have. I just think it’s funny to picture the real Sharon Stevens going to her friends and family and being like, “Hey guys, they’re making a movie about my life. Please don’t pay attention to the fact that I’m an alcoholic in it, and my son hates me. But besides that, woo!”

In the end, yes, I absolutely loved this movie. All the emotional beats were there. It knew how to perfectly tug on the heartstrings. I will say, I don’t just cry at anything, but I’m also not afraid to cry if a movie really hits me in my feels, and this movie had me choked up for pretty much the entire last half of it. And I think there were some real tears that leaked out there. Also, despite the fact that this movie does kind of go into a few darker themes, I think as long as your kids have a basic understanding of what alcoholism is, what sickness and death look like, I think this actually is a good movie for the entire family to go and watch. Yes, that’s right. Congratulations, little Timmy, you finally got one. But just this one.

And of course, I highly recommend that you guys go catch this while it’s playing in theaters because, remember, if we want them to continue to make good Christian movies, then we have to support them when they make them and they’re actually good. So please, guys, go see this movie in theaters. Again, highly, highly recommend it. And for my film score, I’m going to give this a nine out of ten. I absolutely love this movie. It feels like an independent feature with great acting, and I love movies about family and the lengths that we will go to protect them.

Should Catholics See Ordinary Angels?

And for my Catholic score, I’m going to give this movie a ten out of ten. There’s no mention of the Catholic Church specifically in this movie, but Sharon Stevens really did ask, “What would Jesus do?” And then she went and did it. And I think that this movie can inspire a lot of us to do the same.

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