Redeeming Love is an awkward fit for the faith-based film genre

Angel and Michael Hosea, played by Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis.(Picture: Universal Pictures)

Just over 30 years ago, Francine Rivers published “Redeeming Love,” a reimagining of the biblical story of Hosea in romance novel form.

It became a bestseller and remains a fan favorite in the Christian fiction genre, selling 3 million copies to date and being translated into 30 languages.

The novel’s translation to the big screen, however, was less successful.

“Redeeming Love” is at its heart a story about God’s unconditional and redemptive love for mankind. The compelling message is that no matter how far you’ve gone or think you’ve gone, God’s love for you doesn’t change. All you have to do is go back to Him and receive Him.

It’s clear that director DJ Caruso wanted to stretch beyond the confines of conventional religious film and achieve a production quality that could be taken seriously in Hollywood.

The movie version also strives to be more than just a sweet Hallmark love story. He is not afraid of violence or depravity and depravity. Dark and uncomfortable themes like child abuse, prostitution and sexual exploitation permeate the story and are treated with greater realism than typically seen in faith-based films, which tend to hurt and airbrushed wrongdoing so as not to offend their Christian audience.

Faith-based audiences may be willing to allow some degree of granularity in the name of precision and realism, but steamy sex scenes like those in Redeeming Love are likely to be seen as an awkward and unnecessary intrusion into a movie. otherwise inspiring. The fact that the film could have shined without them only makes their presence all the more shocking.

Ultimately, Redeeming Love is too faith-based to have much secular appeal and yet too overtly sexual to be comfortably embraced by a purity-conscious Christian audience – the very audience it should have appealed to most.

Redeeming Love is now available in a limited UK release.

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