Indie Film Review “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone”



First, the Recap:

Second chances.  They’re something that doesn’t come around a lot, yet should truthfully be present more often. Errors made can be a catalyst for further downfall, or the makings of a newly acquired fresh start, but only if and when the effort to reach that reborn pinnacle is evident. No one said the road to redemption would be easy, either. For former child star Gavin Stone (Brett Dalton), thoughts of a reformed existence were the farthest thing from his mind until an overt circumstance while out partying lands him in peril with the law. Sentenced to 200 hours of community service at a Masonville, IL church as his penance, coming back home is no picnic, as it also means reconnecting with his father Waylon (Neil Flynn).

First day into his new duties as a janitor at the church, following an initially awkward introduction to lead pastor Allen Richardson (D.B. Sweeney), Gavin manages to also share another uneasy initiatory moment with Kelly Richardson (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes), the head of the church’s annual theater production and the pastor’s daughter to boot. Seeing an opportunity to be involved with something he actually enjoys, Gavin auditions for the part of Christ in the Passion Play, feigning being a Christian in order to gain the role. Soon, however, as he tries to get to know the elusive Kelly better, teach some acting to the cast, plus be taught valuable lessons about what it really means to be a Christian, Gavin realizes the empty life he actually had and the new one being offered to him, even as one poor decision threatens to ruin it all.

Next, my Mind:

With a breezy, light-hearted, whimsical demeanor paired with its candid, accessible, clearly delivered, genuinely sincere Christian message, director Dallas Jenkins and writer Andrea Gyertson Nasfell’s faith-based indie film sails smoothly across the calm seas of themes involving forgiveness, faith, integrity, patience, love, and persistence when pursuing ones goals with a reinvigorated view on life. Willing to first engage the audience with its humorous look at one man’s sometimes blundering journey to salvation that all starts with a lie, that then turns more serious when Gavin’s choices, both past and present, truly begin to weigh on him in the face of newfound hope and friendships more tangibly meaningful than any he’s ever experienced, the narrative paints a human picture that makes even the concept of God more relatable and less intimidating. Add in its flowing musical score and overall brisk pacing, this is a winner on all counts.

Dalton, fresh off playing a decidedly more evil role as Grant Ward/Hive on ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, turns on a much more charming, albeit self-assured, attitude as Gavin, taking out the frustrations of his former glory as an adult, which lands him in trouble, and hence a place he reluctantly figures will be something to just endure and get out of his hair. Watching the character’s transformation is both funny and honest, even profound, as Gavin comes to terms with his past, present, and renewed future, which Dalton embodies very, very well. Likewise, Johnson-Reyes is absolutely beautiful and charming as Kelly, who can also be utterly stubborn and even unwilling to bend in the face of the wind that is Gavin Stone until getting to know him more as his heart changes, which in turn seems to break down her walls as well. Like Dalton, Johnson-Reyes performs the character’s inner reshaping with poise, adorable wit, and grace with a smile.

Excellent supporting turns arrive via Sweeney as the intrepid lead pastor Allen Richardson who very much believes in second chances, WWE star Shawn Michaels, a very strong Christian in real life, as ex-con and life lesson teacher Doug, Flynn as Gavin’s widowed father Waylon, whose reconnection with his son is tension-filled but ultimately endearing, as well as Tim Frank, Christopher Maleki, Liam Matthews, and Kirk B.R. Woller. In total, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” is a more than worthy faith-based effort to see as it continues the growing trend of higher quality efforts within the genre while presenting the Christian message with purpose and drive without being pretentious, all while wrapping it neatly into one delightfully appealing film.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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