STARRING:  Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie and Conphidance

From someone who has never had the opportunity to experience a Baptist Church service, or a megachurch experience thus far in my life, I was very intrigued by Adamma Ebo’s satire filed new film, HONK FOR JESUS.  SAVE YOUR SOUL.

I was also very happy that I attended the advanced screening of the film in St. Louis, filled with many of my fellow moving-loving attendees, as at times in this one, when I was thinking this pseudo-documentary style film was feeling rather uneasy, the audience saw all the humor of this laugh a minute look at Baptist Preacher Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown), and his wife, the first lady Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall), as they try to come back from the brink of ruin, after allegations swirl around Paster Childs, for doing as they say…some pretty sinful things.  Enter new Pastors Shakura (Nicole Beharie) and Keon Sumpter (Conphidance), who are conveniently just waiting in the wings, to take on the congregation that has fled Pastor Childs.  And as Triniti tries to come to terms with losing her life of opulence and power, it seems that Lee-Curtis is too narrcisistic in his pursuit to get his congregation back, that he really can’t see what immense pain and anguish his wife is in…

4200_D007_00245 Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown star as Trinitie and Lee-Curtis Childs in HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL., a Focus Features release. Credit: Steve Swisher / © 2021 Pinky Promise LLC
4200_D020_00307_R Regina Hall stars as Trinitie Childs in HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL., a Focus Features release. Credit: Steve Swisher / © 2021 Pinky Promise LLC
4200_D016_00775_R Conphidance and Nicole Beharie star as Keon and Shakura Sumpter in HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL., a Focus Features release. Credit: Steve Swisher / © 2021 Pinky Promise LLC

The performances this time around are pretty spectacular, as St. Louis’ own Sterling K. Brown proves that he really is a movie-star caliber actor.  Regina Hall has always been, and will always be, one of my favorite actresses of the last decade, as that smile, quick wit, and emotionally charged acting prowess never disappoints!  I also throughly enjoyed the antagonists this time around, played flawlessly by Nicole Beharie and Conphidance. But as much as I loved the performances playing out on screen, with all four of these actors perfectly cast in their respective roles, I also found myself questioning portions of this one all along the way.  There are so many moments of HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL. that just never say what you need them to say, leaving too many scenes feeling totally unfinished.  There were also too many times that I assumed we were finally going to get to the bottom of the discontentment and anguish that these two people are muddling through, only to end up watching them not face their own realities, which seemed blaringly apparent to all of us watching this film.  I’m also happy that I took the opportunity to catch this film for both advanced screenings, because I most definitely felt more engaged, intrigued, and moved by the performances on screen during my second viewing, so remember that when you head out to the theatre this weekend, as once you understand the premise, you will be acutely more aware of what its store.  All-in-all, this film ends up being entertaining when its all said and done, I just felt that Adamma Ebo needed to rewrite and rework some of the crucial scenes in her film, allowing her to bring this film to the pinnacle of greatness that she might have achieved, when Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown were given the perfect material to deliver…

3 out of 5 Stars

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