[Courtesy of Lionsgate]

Movie Review: Ordinary Angels

07:00 February 27, 2024
By: Fritz Esker

Ordinary Angels (2024)

In director Jon Gunn's new feel-good film Ordinary Angels, Hillary Swank plays Sharon, a hairdresser in 1990s Kentucky struggling with alcoholism and attempting to find a purpose for her life. She finds one when she reads a news story about Ed (Alan Ritchson), a recent widower buried in medical bills because his five-year-old daughter (Emily Mitchell) has a rare disease that requires a liver transplant. Sharon decides to throw her considerable energies into helping the family in any way possible, sometimes to Ed's consternation.

The description may make it sound like an old-fashioned inspirational TV movie, but the script by Kelly Fremon Craig (Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret) and Meg Tilly (yes, older film fans, the actress from The Big Chill and The Two Jakes) has some psychological complexity to it. A character notes that Sharon's manic devotion to helping Ed's family is still a form of addict behavior, albeit a more helpful form of it than binge-drinking. Ed also suggests that Sharon is doing all these good deeds for her as much as for his family.

The film is based on actual events, so it's not really a spoiler to say it has a happy ending. The finale, featuring acts of kindness from a wide variety of people, will likely move even hard-hearted curmudgeons in the audience. Swank does strong work in the lead and Ritchson convincingly conveys Ed's bone-deep weariness over all that has happened to his family.

Ordinary Angels was produced by Kingdom Story Company, a production company that makes faith-based films. This one has real crossover appeal. While there is some talk of prayer and faith, it's not a preachy film, and even dyed-in-the-wool atheists will likely find things to appreciate in this tale of kindness and self-sacrifice.

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