Spoilers for 'A Question of Faith'
'A Question of Faith' brought to you by director Kevan Otto and writer Ty Manns tests the power of religious beliefs as families, once strangers to each other, come together to override dire personal tragedies. The narrative does not fall short of heavy scenes that include the act of organ donation and the rising awareness of texting and driving while allowing the audience to explore the idea of what they would do in such situations.
David Newman (Richard T Jones), associate pastor of a large Atlanta-area African-American Baptist church, struggles as most husbands and fathers do. As he focuses on a construction project for the church and his future position as senior pastor, his family — wife Theresa (Kim Fields), sons Junior (James Hooper) and Eric (Caleb T Thomas) — takes a back seat.
Another family's life, not too far away from Newman's, is in trouble when construction contractor John Danielson (C Thomas Howell) has to deal with bankruptcy. With his bank threatening to foreclose his family home, which he shares with his wife Mary (Renee O'Connor) and teenage daughter Michelle (Amber Thompson), he turns to his daughter.
With the responsibility of making sure his family doesn't fall apart, he overworks Michelle to ensure she receives a recording contract with a major gospel music label. Unfortunately, tragedy hits when Michelle is diagnosed with congenital heart disease. Now, her parents have to focus on finding their child a transplant donor.
As Danielson is waking up to the tragedy, Newman's little boy Eric gets admitted to the ICU after meeting with a car crash that involved a teenager texting while driving. The driver behind the wheel, much to her mother Kate Hernandez's (Jaci Velasquez) surprise, is teen Maria (Karen Valero), who now bears the burden of hurting Eric, whose life is left hanging in the balance.
The cast members take this awkwardly integrated proselytizing in stride, gamely delivering serious-faced sermons on their assigned topics. The not-coincidentally named pastor Newman ends up on the receiving end of much of this haranguing, and Jones manages to make his character’s change of heart appear almost believable. Fields as his steadfast wife deserves the pastor’s job herself for displaying such clear-eyed compassion toward her husband and family in the midst of tragedy.
Despite a great deal of bluster, Howell doesn’t really have much to say but makes for a suitable example of faith regained.
The movie sets up families with their own personal struggles by detailing each of their family dynamics — individually first, then interjected. What happens when these families cross paths — not due to the best of circumstances — will have you wondering how cruel life can be. Adding the intensity of religious beliefs has the movie cater to a specific audience, that will listen and not judge. That is of course not to say that the movie is not moving or does not bring up realities that take up news headlines more than people recognize.
As these families interject life's tragedies, their purpose of hope becomes a stronger unit than their grief. Having religious themes heavily embedded into the narrative does not take away from the inherent awareness brought to life-saving contingencies such as organ donation and the reality of deaths surrounding distracted drivers.
The actors take this narrative and do justice to the roles which require a whole set of skills, that of delivering raw emotion. The cast involved used pure dramedy to evolve such a heavy narrative doing some justice to it. The movie showcases character arcs and narratives that mirror instances in real life — pure coincidence and dramatic tragedies brought them in each other paths.
It generally can be categorized as a family movie, but the heavyheartedness of the story, although expected, will catch your sentiments off guard. A story about a man who loses his trust in the God that he believes in, another man who has yet to find his faith and a woman who doesn't stutter on hers — this is a recommended watch.
'A Question of Faith' airs on Lifetime on April 12, 2020, at 8/7c but was originally released in Septemeber 2017.