Redemptive Love – Film Review

redemptive love (man, I hate that title) is based on the 1991 book of the same name by Francine Rivers. It’s about Angel (Cowen), a girl sold into prostitution at the age of 8. She has lived most of her life in brothels. Of course, she tried to run away, once going around the horn on her way to San Francisco to escape her pimp. Oh, did I forget to mention this is set in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush? Yes it does. I also have to tell you that it is based on the Bible Old Testament book of Hosea. Michael (Lewis), a land farmer near what is now Sacramento, prays for a wife. Almost immediately, while selling his vegetables, he sees Angel walking the streets of Pair-a-Dice (I don’t shit on you) and falls in love with her right there. Angel is the Palace’s main attraction: to spend 30 minutes with her, you have to stick your name in a hat, win the lottery, and pay a good chunk of your gold dust for the privilege. Michael pays and sees her that day. He tells her he doesn’t want sex and asks her to marry him. She says no. This continues for several days until Angel, barely alive after being brutally beaten and maddened by laudanum, says, “Why not?” She hates farm life and hates Michael, so she runs away several times, each time resuming work as a prostitute. Each time she is brought back by Michael – until the last time, that is. He believes that this time she must come back to him on her own, or not at all. So of course she does. During one of his escape attempts, he says his marriage is not slavery. He shows Pair-a-Dice and tells her she has a choice, it’s slavery and, pointing to his farm, it’s marriage. Not exactly the clear choice he thinks it is.

redemptive love is like the most expensive community theater production you’ve ever seen. The acting just isn’t there. Cowen does her best to try to get by, but she’s mostly here to look good. Well, that and being used and abused. Angel is subject to everything from forced abortions to other very bad things. Lewis, bless him, again, he’s handsome, but that’s about it. Frankly, it’s not good. I was surprised to see a few X-Men in this thing, but Famke Janssen and Eric Dane showed up as two of Angel’s pimps called, hold on to your beanies… Duchess and Duke. Janssen has to eat but she’s really sleepwalking through this one. Dane, on the other hand, eats so much drapery there’s none left for anyone else. The only bright spot is Logan Marshall-Green as Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law, who hates, really hates Angel. His performance belongs to another better movie.

A Hallmark movie with a major dose of God I’m sure there’s an audience out there for redemptive love. After all, 3 million people who bought the book can’t be wrong (they can, it’s crap). Think little house on the prairie on Cialis. If you think this movie is right for you, ask your preacher if your heart is healthy enough for sex because, ma’am, this movie might raise your blood pressure. Side effects may include headaches, upset stomach, and fumes.

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