Pastor Lee Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) and his first lady wife, Triniti Childs (Regina Hall), are about to finally reopen their megachurch after an internal scandal caused them to immediately shut down. They are pulling out all the stops for the grand reopening and attempting to figure out which lavish outfit they want to wear, or what kind of ‘church hat’ a first lady should don for this momentous occasion. These two people are no strangers to the finer things in life, with their incredibly large mansion, and fancy cars, so you could tell they must have been very popular among their local crowds. For such a grand occasion, Paster Childs and his wife decide that they want to hire a documentary film crew to follow their big return to form, but it’s there where we start to see the cracks in their bandaged relationship come through.
Pastor Childs is depicted practicing a speech where he utters the phrase, “I am not a perfect man”, a fitting phrase for the plot of this movie. To have a lot of renown status, comes a lot of power, and we see what happens when that power is taken away and what that can mean for a community. One part satire, and another part mockumentary, we view a relationship teetering on a tightrope swaying right to left in the breeze. At face value the movie is poking fun at an affluent comeback with a pastor who has and endless amount of money, fancy clothes, and nice things. The first lady wife has to keep her faith and composition as she tries to crawl through the dirt and help this man return to greatness. Although events of the film were meant to be humorous (or at least lighthearted), and they were at times, I often I found myself more interested in how our two leads were able to show humor and drama within a lot of the same scene, many of which I didn’t laugh at in the first place.
I must give Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall a lot of credit in their acting ability, because I was able to accept that these two were married for a while and went through a lot of turmoil together. They were able to show a lot of the quirkiness a long-term relationship can have, whether that be play-dancing with each other, or vibing off each other’s sentences, and they were even able to show how a relationship can function even when dealt a heavy hand. The drama hit more for me when the I could pick apart what really happened in their marriage, and even made connections in my own past relationships when you try to make everything seem fine when it isn’t. It’s not explicitly stated what the scandal is right from the start, but when you start putting the breadcrumbs together you really see the great pastor for who he is. Through the mixing of radio broadcasts and prior video footage; we can infer how great of a man this was to his community. That fall from grace, so to speak, can be a tough thing to get back.
There is a lot to like with Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul even when it may not be as funny as you expect it to be. These characters feel like they could be neighbors to any one of us. The acting abilities of Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall work very well together, especially from some deep monologues on Regina’s behalf. I can see this film being very divisive from a religious standpoint, and even from a satirical standpoint (more like a dark satire), but I still found it to be a fun watch overall.
Reviewed By: Dimitreus Newell