Making the Grades
Leaving your past behind isn’t always an easy thing, especially if it includes expensive cars, fast women and high-level drug trafficking. It’s even more difficult when you continue to hang around with your old chums. Miles Montego (Ja Rule), a former dealer, finds that out when he tries to reform his life without giving up his lifestyle.
Still residing in a mansion, driving a high-powered car and mingling with his old crew, Miles tries to be above board without getting out of the cellar. But Jason McDaniels (Stephen Baldwin) of the DEA isn’t convinced he has changed.
Miles’ mother (Margorie Mann) wants him to come to church, find a nice girl and get his life back on track as well. When Miles meets Vanessa Leon (Adrienne Bailon), it looks like his her wishes might be coming true. Vanessa not only reads the Bible, she lives it. Prayer, gospel study and commitment to religious values are important to her. And she wants a man with whom she can be “equally yoked.”
When they first meet, Miles is more attracted by Vanessa’s looks than her beliefs. But as he spends more time with her, he realizes they are a packaged deal. Trying to find common ground as they walk very different paths proves to be an almost overwhelming challenge for the young couple. His definition of a man of faith leaves lots of room for interpretation. Trying to lure Vanessa into bed with him, he quotes some selected Biblical verses. But she stands firm in her resolve and he ends up in a cold shower. Vanessa gets another glimpse of the former Miles when he pulls out a gun during an altercation and is later seemingly lured into the embrace of a Jezebel.
Galley Molina wrote this Christian drama while doing time in prison. The story, based on his own life experiences, follows the main character’s transformation from criminal to believer. Molina, who wanted to keep the film’s focus on that transformation rather than glamorizing his days on the street, founded his own production company in order to be able to maintain creative control of the movie.
Unfortunately the film’s biggest flaw is the lack of consequences for Miles’ criminal past. While Molina did prison time, he doesn’t make his character face the same penalty—although some of Mile’s former associates do. Instead the protagonist walks away from the drug world with a huge bank account and without facing any serious punishment for his drug dealing days.
While the film depicts some brief moments of gun violence and a deadly traffic accident, as well as discussions of past crimes and sexual encounters, the content for older teens remains relatively contained. And Molina’s decision to focus on the redemptive nature of the relationship between Miles and Vanessa is a positive one, especially for teens and young adults who want to change the direction of their lives.
Theatrical Release: 18 October 2013 Limited
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about I’m In Love With A Church Girl.
Galley Molina cast Ja Rule as the lead character. The rapper recently served almost two years behind bars for illegal gun possession. His previous film appearances include a role in The Fast and the Furious. How does that film (and the character he plays) differ from this one? Why do you think Molina chose this actor to play himself?
How does Miles relationship with his family differ from Vanessa’s? What role do their parents play in their children’s lives?
Vanessa remains true to her beliefs and values. How does her commitment enable her to be a positive force in Miles’ life? What role does music play in her worship?
When Miles is a store selling faith-based merchandize, Vanassa points out a CD featuring a real Christian rapper named T-Bone. T-Bone (born Rene Sotomayor) also has a role in this movie, playing Mile’s friend Martin De LaFuente. How do you feel about this product placement in the film? What other marketing is included in the production?