The Prodigal Daughter
Jessica 'Jesse' Brown (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) hasn't been home for 10 years as whilst she went to theology school things didn't work out for her as she had a son Tariq (Michael B. Jordan). But when she gets a call from her sister, Tonya (Nicole Ari Parker), to say their father, Pastor Brown (Keith David), has been taken to hospital she returns home immediately. But with her father knowing he is dying and can't carry on as preacher he decides that whilst Tonya also went to theology school he wants Jessica to become the next preacher. Having agreed her father's commission Jessica not only finds herself having to deal with her sister but also the elders of the church and a member of the congregation who has held a grudge since they were at school together.
If you are familiar with the Bible I know that there is a lot in "Pastor Brown" which will make you smile. Just some of the things which come to mind from reading the Bible include do not judge others, do not favour the wealthy over the poor, Jesus would associate with those others looked down on and he was not a fan of customs which were not from God. And every single one of those I witnessed in "Pastor Brown" especially in a scene where the elders of the church are planning Pastor Brown's funeral and they insist on the local dignitaries getting the best seats and putting on a show. This really made me smile to watch a movie with a contemporary story which did such a fantastic job of actually drawing on the scripture none more so in Jessica finding herself serving the Lord having been an exotic dancer.
But whilst there is a side to "Pastor Brown" which is sure to make many a Christian smile it is also a movie which works just as well on a non Christian level. In that sense we have this drama surrounding Jessica who having returned home and wanting to do right by her father finds herself firstly having to build bridges with her son who resents her abandoning him. But we also have her sister Tonya and another woman who seem determined to prevent Jessica from succeeding in becoming the next Pastor of the church. In truth if you were only watching the movie for the drama then I can imagine it would be a bit under whelming and a bit obvious when it comes to the underdog coming good aspect of it, although without giving too much away there is a twist to all this.
What this all boils down to is that "Pastor Brown" is a movie which will work in one of two ways. For those who watch it just to be entertained by a drama might find it a bit routine and as such only okay. But for those who can recognize all the biblical references worked in to the story, and there are more than I mentioned, then this movie becomes more than just entertaining a real blessing.