Redeeming Love Parent Guide
This is a deeply uncomfortable, highly sexualized film with a Christian subtext that won't please any viewers, be they Christian or not.
Parent Movie Review
Angel (Abigail Cowen) is the most popular prostitute in the whole town of Pair-a-dice, California. With the Gold Rush in full swing, this makes her a busy girl: so busy, in fact, that there’s a lottery every night to see which lucky client gets to pay for her services. But for local farmer Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis), she’s the girl of his dreams in a very different way. He’s willing to pay double to skip the lottery and spends his hard-earned half hour trying to convince Angel to marry him and get out of the brothel. Angel’s life plans don’t include settling down on a farm twenty miles outside of town, and if Michael wants to make this work, it’s going to take a lot more than half an hour of persuasion. And even if she did want to leave, Angel’s boss, Duchess (Famke Janssen), wouldn’t want to lose such a profitable employee.
Where do I even start with this movie? On one hand, it’s based on a reasonably successful Christian novel, which is in turn, allegedly based on the biblical Book of Hosea. On the other hand, it’s a deeply uncomfortable, highly sexualized film to watch. I can’t speak to the quality of the book, having not read it myself, but if this is a halfway decent adaptation, then I wouldn’t use it for toilet paper. And since the author worked on the screenplay, I’m left to assume that it hews reasonably close to the novel. For non-religious fans of steamy romantic drama, there’s a good deal more religious subplot than they’re going to want. For the Christian crowd, there’s a lot more gross sex. Unless you think that watching a 17-year-old girl being prostituted to her own father is part of a balanced healthy breakfast, then I wouldn’t show this to your kids…or anyone else, for that matter.
Apart from the film’s obvious problems with handling sexual trauma, there’s another issue I need to tackle. Angel repeatedly rebuffs Michael’s advances, which only encourages Michael to keep trying. Now, while this eventually works out for the best, that’s a terrible behaviour to encourage. For a film so preoccupied with the horrors of forced prostitution and the absence of consent it creates, there are no red flags when Michael repeatedly ignores her dismissals. Why doesn’t her consent matter when it comes to his courtship? Regardless of his opinion of her life, and the realities behind it, she’s an adult woman entitled to make her own choices – even if those choices are not in her long term self-interest, or Michael’s assumptions about her self-interest.
Given the choice between watching pigs eat my legs and watching this movie again, I’ll pour barbecue sauce on my shoes myself. This is two hours of bad acting and sloppy dialogue, alternating between unpleasantly sexual and devastatingly dull, and held together with a loose concept of Christian virtue. It’s a dumpster fire at best. The background characters panning for gold have a better shot at seeing something interesting than anyone in the audience, and a guaranteed shot at being less disgusted.Directed by D.J. Caruso. Starring Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Famke Janssen. Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release January 21, 2022. Updated January 21, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Redeeming Love rated PG-13? Redeeming Love is rated PG-13 by the MPAA Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual content, partial nudity, and strong violent content.
Violence: People are severely beaten on several occasions. A woman dies of an unnamed disease, likely tuberculosis. A man is garroted and stabbed. A character commits suicide. A man is hanged. There are references to rape, forced abortion and sterilization.
Sexual Content: There are frequent scenes of prostitution and rape, most of which are implied or offscreen. There are several scenes of sexual content which include varying degrees of partial nudity. There are references to child sexual abuse.
Profanity: There are occasional uses of mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated January 21, 2022
Redeeming Love Parents' Guide
What is the significance and message of the Book of Hosea? Does any of that context survive the adaptation? What messages does the film actually offer? Is this just a cheap packaging to sell sex to a religious audience?
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Other historical romantic dramas include films like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Titanic, Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women, andThe Young Victoria. A similarly terrible Western is Apache Junction. Adult viewers looking for a more nuanced look at a complex love story on the frontier might enjoy The Power of the Dog.