Year Released: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 minutes
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Fundamentalist Christians rarely get to speak for themselves in a mainstream media setting, and the few times their presence is noted inevitably comes in a shrill political dialogue rather than a serious consideration of theological principles. Holly Hardman’s documentary is the closest one can come to an objective view of this demographic.
Set primarily in the Gulf Coast region, the film explores how self-identified fundamentalists preserve and maintain their faith in the midst of a secular society. For many of the men and women interviewed here, their faith is the anchor that keeps them moored – especially in the aftermath of the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated their communities and left many homeless. Most of the fundamentalists here tap into religion to give them the physical strength and emotional clarity to move ahead with their lives.
Admittedly, some behavior can be considered a bit excessive, most notably the journey of a bearded gent that walks along the highways while toting an oversized cross. One young man compares his fundamentalist upbringing to life in a Communist country – when he left home to join the Marines, he claims to have known nothing of contemporary music and popular culture.
Outside of a brief lapse into a negative consideration of the gay lifestyle, the outlook presented here is overwhelmingly positive and life-affirming. Even Hardman may have learned something from her exposure to this world – her documentary’s original title was the much more provocative “Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven.”
Posted on November 7, 2013 in Reviews by Phil Hall
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