Runtime: 102 minutes
Director/Writer: Adamma Ebo
Stars: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, Conphidance, Andrea Laing, Austin Crute
By Morgan Roberts
Megachurches can be an all-encompassing part of someone’s life. So, when Pastor Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) finds himself embroiled in scandal, he must rely on help from his wife Trinity (Regina Hall) and a documentary crew to save face and maybe save his soul.
In Adamma Ebo’s feature directorial debut, the ideas of church, of family, of faith, and of duty are all examined. The film is so brilliantly structured as part narrative film and part mockumentary, with the lines blurring between the two, making you wonder just what exactly is truth and what is performance. Ebo crafted a script with many satirical jokes about faith and church. There is a scene where the pronunciation of “Amen” is examined and it is beyond genius.
Speaking of performance, the film centers on this couple portrayed brilliantly by Hall and Brown. Their understanding of their characters runs deep. Trinity is a woman with a strong sense of duty. She is conflicted in remaining at the side of a man who betrayed her and their community. The conflict comes from her faith, which positions her thoughts and feelings as less than her husband’s. Trinity is really the one shouldering much of the guilt, much of the responsibility for her husband’s indiscretions. Hall carries Trinity’s burdens with honesty and authenticity.
Brown’s performance highlights the hypocrisy and inner turmoil of someone bound by a dogmatic hubris. Pastor Childs sees himself as infallible and righteous while neglecting his humanness and faults. His pietism is his glaring fault, and his facade of virtue slowly erodes as the film progresses. At no point, though, does Brown lose his character and holds Curtis’ truths throughout.
“Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul” is a smart, witty satire about church, faith, and devotion. As a first-time feature director, Ebo has shown a clear vision and poise her first time behind the camera. Hall and Brown give career-best performances in this must-see film.