Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. [Grade: 89.16%]

Director: Adamma Ebo

Story By: Adamma Ebo

Cast: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, Conphidance, & Austin Crute

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This would’ve been a great cap to last season’s films. 

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Theme & Story: A

Pacing: A

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough

Baptist Church Comedy / Satire Fans: Worth The $$$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

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1. A Pastor and his First Lady decide to document the return of their megachurch after a scandal closed its doors. This is Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. 

Thematically, I walked away with a well executed message around what it means to not only be authentically yourself “in the eyes of the Lord,” but also what it means to be honest with your Self and YOUR “God,” and the result(s) of doing so or not. 

There were many strengths of this film, and I think the directorial style aided in the execution of the strong cohesion and continuity of the story and theme. The cinematic perspective allowed me to see the Childs’ interesting existence when trying to be their authentic selves, while the documentary style perspective showcased this conflicting façade-adjacent existence of this couple that was part performative and part their truth due to it being a life they’ve always known. 👍🏾👍🏾

What I appreciated is how the directorial and production styles begin to merge, especially from the eyes of First Lady Childs to really emphasize / drive home the theme. It was really well done. 👍🏾👍🏾

2. When Regina’s character opened them eyes before the baptism… 😂😂😂

3. Yeah, I felt the discomfort in that basketball gym, too. 😳

4. Listen! Regina had LEWKS! You hear me! 😂🙌🏾

5. This was an engaging 92 minutes of film, and a lot of that is due to Brown and Hall.  Also, I found the documentary style aspect of production to be a clever way to pace in the tension that was not only cause for the story to take place, and the reason for how the film develops overtime. It was as if I was in the shoes of “Anita” watching things unfold, and relevantly learning in the process. 👍🏾

I didn’t need or want to see “the scandal” similar to how we are at a point now in society (and personally film) where we don’t need to “see” domestic abuse, rape, etc. Trauma is trauma. Period. So I appreciated how the film chose to unpack its scandal. 👍🏾

6. I think it just hit me as I was typing this up, but the symbolism behind the hat for both Sterling’s character and the beliefs of the church… 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

7. The “sex scene”…well used… 👀

8. The ending… 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

9. Baby! The quick, church-friendly reads, shade, and wit. 😂😂😂

10. Just a HUGE round of applause for Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown. I mean, the LEVELS of character performance from comedy to dramatic, and it all felt genuine. I mean damn! That was some grade A character code-switching. Just great. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

AND THEN, you throw in there Hall’s amazing character followthrough with the theme. In Act One literally separating her authentic Self from the Performative to realizing her authentic Self IS enough, and is true, and is valid/validated in the “eyes of the Lord.” 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

For Brown’s character, I loved his sort of static characterization—this passionate, in denial, faithful individual. A man who fears his authentic Self isn’t enough, and really depends on the Performative without understanding all that he’s been able to understand through the Performative is the same things that can take care of him in his authenticity. Brown delivered an amazing character. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

* * *

Overall #HonkForJesusSaveYourSoul gives Greenleaf – meets The Eyes of Tammy Faye – meets The Office

Having lived my entire gay cultivation in Atlanta with undergrad and a few years after, the focus of the story was all too familiar, and I chuckle every time I think about it because it doesn’t need to be this way; and I see the team behind this story felt the same way. 

I want to give major props to Chelsea Zotta who is listed as the script supervisor for continuity. This film does a really good job telling this story of internalized conflicts with faith, authenticity, passions, and truths. 

BUT… applause, roses, cheers all goes to Regina Hall and Sterling K Brown. Such great individuals chosen to lead a story like this. I mean, just phenomenal. 

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