Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot parents guide

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot Parent Guide

This is a powerful story of simple goodness and it deserves to be widely seen.

Overall A-

Theaters: The true story of Reverend Martin, his wife, Donna, and their church in East Texas which ignited a movement to adopt vulnerable children in the foster system.

Release date July 4, 2024

Violence B-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B+
Substance Use B

Why is Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot PG-13 for thematic material involving child abuse, some violence, language and brief suggestive material.

Run Time: 127 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Overwhelmed with grief after the death of her mother, Donna Martin (Nika King) sinks into depression. As she calls upon God for deliverance, she hears Him tell her to adopt children and love them as her mother loved her. Her husband, Reverend W.C. Martin (Demetrius Grosse) is initially appalled, but as he becomes aware of the frightful experiences suffered by children in the Texas foster care system, he comes on board. The Martins, who already have two biological children (including one with intellectual disabilities), end up adopting four foster children. More remarkably, in the late 1990s, 22 families in Reverend Martin’s small church in the tiny town of Possum Trot, take in 77 of the most hard-to-place children from the child welfare system.

The story of Possum Trot is an inspirational one, but the uplift comes at a price. The children who come to the welcoming families have been severely abused and traumatized. The horrific events of their young lives have scarred their bodies and minds and many of them don’t know how to trust, express emotions, or process their trauma. For the adults in Reverend Martin’s church, parenting these children is far more agonizing than they expected.

It’s here that Sound of Hope becomes more than a feel-good adoption story. As the families suffer and the Martins are driven to the breaking point, Reverend Martin prays for aid and calls on the strength of the church community to support all who struggle. From the pulpit, he reminds his congregation, “If we believe the Bible, we ought to bear their burden. That burden only be light if it’s shared.” As his little flock reach out to one another, pray together, weep together, and share meals and strength and love, they truly become a congregation of the believers. In fact, I think this movie is one of the finest depictions I’ve ever seen of Christianity in practice, and it is a necessary counterbalance to the contentious Christianity of the culture wars that so often parades across our TV screens.

Inspiring as this story is, it is also raw, and as such it comes with PG-13 levels of negative content. Parents should note that we see photos of children who have been beaten and burned and are told about children who have been pimped, raped, and murdered. There are some physical altercations between kids and even involving adults. Because some of the children have been sexually abused, it’s also not surprising that they act out. There is a disturbing scene (most of which occurs off camera) in which a young teenage girl is implied to have consensual sex with a fellow student in a bathroom stall. She’s later seen shaking and crying.

The negative content might be disturbing for some viewers, but I still highly recommend Sound of Hope for teen and adult viewers. This is a powerful story of simple goodness; of people who walk the talk and live their faith at great personal sacrifice. It’s a reminder that our society’s greatest heroes are those who seek those who suffer and reach out in compassion and love. When the Martins ask to take difficult children, a conscientious social worker (Elizabeth Mitchell) gently tells them that “Religious guilt can’t fix a broken child’s heart.” To which Donna responds, “Love can.” And that’s the greatest message of this film: that love has the power to heal souls, to nourish families, and to bind together communities. I can’t think of a message that’s better for our kids to hear.

Directed by Joshua Weigel. Starring Nika King, Demetrius Grosse, Elizabeth Mitchell. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release July 4, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot
Rating & Content Info

Why is Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot rated PG-13? Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material involving child abuse, some violence, language and brief suggestive material.

Violence: An elderly woman dies off screen of natural causes. A TV program features a shootout. A young man with an intellectual disability gets agitated and beats his head against a wall. There are photos of children who have been beaten and otherwise abused. A child has cigarette burns on his abdomen. There’s mention of children being pimped, raped, and tortured. A social worker talks about a child whose sister was murdered by her mother. Children witness the beating and fatal shooting of their mother. A child keeps a knife under her pillow for protection. A girl deliberately trips another girl, sparking an altercation. A girl pushes her mother, who spanks her, triggering more pushing and shoving. Adults yell at children. A child is suicidal. A teenager steals a car, knocks things over, and runs away from home.
Sexual Content: A young teen girl runs away from home and gets in bed with a boy: there is no sexual activity. It is implied that a teenage girl has consensual sex with a boy in a bathroom stall. No activity is seen but her shirt falls to the floor and she is later seen shaking and crying. An adult suggests that she needs a trip to the drugstore, implying the need for a morning after contraceptive pill. A married man kisses his wife’s shoulder and tries to seduce her.
Profanity: The script contains four terms of deity, two minor profanities, and a crude term for women.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult is seen smoking a cigarette.

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Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot Parents' Guide

You can read more about the Martins’ experience here:

Huff Post: The Power of Love: How a Texan Town of 600 People Took in 76 Foster Care Children

The Imprint: Beyond Faith: How One Community Raised 70 Kids from the Texas Foster Care System


Loved this movie? Try these books…

If you want more about this remarkable story, you can read Bishop W.C. Martin’s book, Small Town, Big Miracle.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Also produced by Angel Studios is Cabrini, the story of an Italian nun who came to New York, determined to build an orphanage, and who went on to found a global order dedicated to the care of orphans and the sick.

A more secular spin on taking on foster children is found in Instant Family, the story of a couple who took in three high needs siblings. Foster kids become key players in the superhero franchise that begins with Shazam!

The documentary 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story tells the tale of a college student who was paralyzed during a football game. As he recovers, he and his wife determine to become foster parents.

Another film that celebrates a warm and caring church congregation is Unsung Hero.