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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Robert Duvall
Universal 12/97 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - thematic elements and a related scene of violence
With great empathy and total respect, writer and director Robert Duvall has created a highly engaging drama about the fall and redemption of a Pentecostal preacher from Texas. Unlike other screen caricatures of revival evangelists, The Apostle captures the man in full with both his flaws and his finer points.
After his wife (Farrah Fawcett) steals his congregation from him and leaves him for a younger minister, "Sonny" Dewey (Robert Duvall) strikes the man in the head with a baseball hat and flees town. Leaving behind his beloved mother (June Carter Cash) and his two children, Sonny transforms himself into the Apostle. He convinces a retired black minister to start "The One Way Road to Heaven" Holiness Temple. Fired up by the Holy Ghost, the Apostle works at two jobs, funds repairs for the church, starts a radio ministry, baptizes two women, and converts a racist. The small racially mixed congregation loves his zealous preaching and his mission of saving souls for Christ. Eventually, the long arm of the law catches up with Sonny but by then he has found himself a new calling.
The Apostle is the kind of movie that rarely gets made in America, and it is to Robert Duvall's credit that he stuck to his guns and told the story he wanted to tell. He presents a unique and enlightening behind-the-scenes look at Pentecostal Christianity with its charismatic preachers, its outspoken and lively laity, and its intense commitment to spreading the Word through scripture, song, and testimony.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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