The excitement level over Francine River’s bestselling novel being made into a movie has been building for years. Of course, when I was offered the opportunity to watch an advance screening, I jumped at the offer. I’m glad I did.
Redeeming Love is loosely based on the Bible love story of Hosea and Gomer, set during the 1850’s Gold Rush. The book has been on bestselling lists for decades. And no wonder. Francine Rivers is a masterful writer. She knows how to spin a story. The scenes flow together effortlessly even when jumping through time. The characters come to life. The lines of dialogue sparkle.
Redeeming Love is a high budget movie, and it shows. The sets are spectacular. The casting is perfect. Costumes and hairstyles are period appropriate. Everything about it is bigger and bolder than life. It’s the kind of movie that’s meant to be seen on the big screen.
I know that both Christians and non Christians alike will flock to the theaters to see Redeeming Love. Every woman who’s read the book will want to see the movie. Since it comes out right before Valentine’s Day, they’ll drag their significant others to watch the movie with them. It will sell out in the theaters and top the box office charts. Women will rave about how much they loved it, and their friends will check it out as well. When its long theater run comes to an end, it will linger on streaming sites for years to come. It will win awards and become a classic favorite.
It will be exciting to see a Christian movie doing so well, and yet, what impact will it have on its audiences?
Redeeming Love will draw many non Christians. It’s the perfect opportunity to share the love of God with them, but unless they’re already familiar with the book and the story of Hosea and Gomer, they’ll never realize it’s an allegory. They’ll see it as face value. Sure, they may think it’s a sweet love story of a man who doesn’t stop loving his wife no matter how many times she disappoints him, but they won’t have a clue that Hosea represents God.
In the book of Hosea, Hosea is a prophet who is called to live out God’s teachings. He knew, and the people he was preaching to knew, that his relationship with Gomer represented God’s relationship with the unfaithful Israelites. The Bible story makes it clear that Hosea represented God’s never-ending love for us no matter how many times we fail him. The Redeeming Love book may have made that clear. The movie does not. Hosea is a good guy, but he’s a farmer, not a prophet. He talks to God a couple of times, but the rest of the time he appears to act on his own goodness.
Redeeming Love is a gritty story. The filmmakers wanted to make it realistic, and they did a fabulous job creating a wicked and vile environment. They captured raunchy no problems. Then they took it a step further. They included nudity.
The Christian actors I know have no nudity clauses in their contracts. Many have left Hollywood because they refused to remove their clothes for a film role. And yet, here we have a Christian movie that required nudity from the lead actors. We’re not talking a quick glimpse of a bare back. We’re talking full on frontal with just cascading hair and a carefully placed set piece.
The sad thing is that it wasn’t necessary in any way. Most of the movie is handled discreetly, and it works. We get the idea. But the scene where she stands in front of him completely naked was totally unnecessary. She could have been wearing her usual attire and it would have worked just as well.
If you’re a Francine Rivers fan, especially if you like the book, certainly go see the movie. You may or may not want to bring along your husband. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a singles date. Go prepared to feel uncomfortable. And then go home and thank God for His redeeming love for you.
Many thanks to Universal for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.