‘Jesus Revolution’ Movie Review: A Lesson in Humanity
- Published: Saturday, 04 March 2023 16:21
- Written by Lupe R Haas
Most faith-based films center around the relationship of an individual to God or around a miracle, but JESUS REVOLUTION reminds us of what’s most important.
While not a perfect film, the film starring Kelsey Grammer and Chosen’s Jonathan Roumie is a lesson in humanity.
Based on a true story, JESUS REVOLUTION is the term coined in a TIME Magazine article about the religious movement that started in Southern California in the 1970s. A Jesus-loving hippie named Lonnie Frisbee (Roumie) helps revive Pastor Chuck Smith’s (Grammer) languishing church by bringing in outcasts like hippies to the movement. A young man, Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney) also finds purpose in the movement.
JESUS REVOLUTION is based on Greg Laurie's book and written by director Jon Erwin and cowriter Jon Gun.
Cavalry church Pastor Chuck is a closed-off preacher who views hippies as sinners until he meets Lonnie Frisbee whose message opens his mind to accepting others. Lonnie reminds the Pastor of Jesus’ original teachings to extend a hand to those in need, regardless of what they've done or what they look like.
Roumie, best known for playing Jesus Christ in the hit streaming series, Chosen, plays another man of God in JESUS REVOLUTION. Roumie is charismatic and endearing as the hippie preacher.
Joel Courtney is a revelation as Greg Laurie. The Netflix’s The Kissing Booth actor shows off his acting range in a serious role.
The first half of the film is inspirational and beautiful as the Pastor opens his mind and church to those in need of guidance and understanding. The film also tackles the hypocrisy of religion when church patrons leave the church at the first site of the new hippie converts.
JESUS REVOLUTION is disguised as a faith, base film, but there are undertones of criticism regarding religion. Once Lonnie brings the masses to the church, he begins putting on a show healing people, claiming he was granted divine powers. Is it theatrics or is he really an extension of God? The film doesn’t answer the question, leaving it to the viewer for their own interpretation. However, you get a sense that Lonnie is moving the movement towards a cult-like group which is the reason he leaves but that's not the real reason, apparently.
Pastor Chuck also begins to doubt Lonnie's need for constant attention and questions his motivations. The writers take liberties with the ending which goes against the message behind the film. Lonnie’s departure from the church in the movie is a far cry from the real events. The real Lonnie left Cavalry Church in a controversial manner after being accused of living a gay lifestyle. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. JESUS REVOLUTION ignores those events entirely, which highlights the hypocrisy behind religion.
Regardless of the liberties taken with the story, JESUS REVOLUTION still conveys a positive message about loving all of God's children.