Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love

2022, PG-13, 134 min. Directed by D.J. Caruso. Starring Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Famke Janssen, Logan Marshall-Green, Nina Dobrev, Livi Birch, Eric Dane.

REVIEWED By Sarah Jane, Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

Redeeming Love (man, I hate this title) is based on Francine Rivers’ 1991 book of the same name. It’s about Angel (Cowen), a girl sold into prostitution at 8. She’s lived nearly her entire life in brothels. Sure, she’s tried to run away, once sailing ’round the horn to get to San Francisco to escape her pimp. Oh, did I fail to mention this takes place in the 1850s during California’s Gold Rush? Yeah, it does. I should also tell you it is based on the Bible’s Old Testament book of Hosea. Michael (Lewis), a dirt farmer up near what’s now Sacramento, prays for a wife. Almost immediately, while selling off his veg, he sees Angel walking around the streets of Pair-a-Dice (I shit you not) and falls in love with her right there. Angel is the main attraction at the Palace: In order to to spend 30 minutes with her, you have to stick your name in a hat, win the lottery, and pay a hefty portion 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 goes on for several more days until Angel, barely alive after having been brutally beaten and out of her mind on laudanum, says, “Why not?” She hates farm life and hates Michael, so she runs away several times, each time going back to work as a prostitute. Each time she is dragged back by Michael – until the last time, that is. He believes this time, she must come back to him of her own accord, or not at all. So, of course she does. During one of her escape attempts, he tells her marriage isn’t slavery. He points to Pair-a-Dice and tells her she has a choice, that way is slavery and, pointing to his farm, that way is marriage. Not exactly the clear-cut choice he thinks it is.

Redeeming Love is like the most expensive community theatre production you’ve ever seen. The acting is just not there. Cowen does her best to try to make it through this thing but she’s mainly there to be beautiful. Well, that and to be used and abused. Angel is put through everything from forced abortions to well, other very bad things. Lewis, bless him, again, he’s beautiful, but that’s about it. Honestly, he isn’t good. I was surprised to see a couple of X-Men in this thing but both Famke Janssen and Eric Dane show up as two of Angel’s pimps called, hold on to your bonnets … Duchess and Duke. Janssen gotta eat but she really sleepwalks through this one. Dane, on the other hand, eats so much of the drapery, there’s none left for anyone else. The one sunlight flare spot is Logan Marshall-Green as Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law, who hates, really hates, Angel. His performance belongs in another, better film.

A Hallmark movie with a major dose of God thrown in, I’m sure there’s an audience out there for Redeeming Love. After all, 3 million people who bought the book can’t be wrong (they can, it’s trash). Think Little House on the Prairie on Cialis. If you think this film is right for you, ask your preacher if your heart is healthy enough for sex because, madame, this movie might make your blood pressure rise. Side effects may include headache, upset stomach, and the vapors.

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Redeeming Love, D.J. Caruso, Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Famke Janssen, Logan Marshall-Green, Nina Dobrev, Livi Birch, Eric Dane

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