Ordinary Angels Is an Uplifting Retelling of the Good Samaritan

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Feb 13, 2024
<em>Ordinary Angels</em> Is an Uplifting Retelling of the Good Samaritan

Ordinary Angels Is an Uplifting Retelling of the Good Samaritan

A heartwarming new movie from the producers of Jesus Revolution and I Can Only Imagine has parallels to the Good Samaritan parable and encourages viewers to reach out to those in need, says a filmmaker behind it.

The film, Ordinary Angels (PG), releases in theaters Feb. 23 and is based on the real-life story of a hairdresser who rallies a church and a community to assist a widower whose daughter is critically ill. Oscar-winner Hillary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) portrays the hairdresser, Sharon Stevens, while actor Alan Ritchson (Reacher, Fast X) plays the father, Ed Schmitt.

The same company (Kingdom Story) that made Jesus Revolution and I Can Only Imagine is behind it.

Producer Andy Erwin said the film shows the “church being the church” and serving others. Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., is referenced in the movie and has a prominent role in helping the father.

“It’s that idea of the Good Samaritan of ‘who is my neighbor?’” Erwin told ChristianHeadlines.

“The hero is a lot of times the most unlikely person. And so Sharon, being a bit of a force of nature that Hillary Swank plays, [is] kind of a bit of a mess,” Erwin said, referencing her battle with alcohol dependence in the film. “Her being this unlikely ordinary angel, in this kind of Good Samaritan story, is powerful. And I think it just reminds the church that the way that we reach the lost is how we treat the people in need. And a lot of times those people are right outside the front doors of our church. And so it allows the church to be the hero and I think that's very needed today.”

When the film begins, Sharon and Ed are neither friends nor acquaintances but strangers to one another. When she learns of his daughter’s dire medical condition and of his deep medical debt, she reaches out to help him and refuses to take “no” for an answer. At the same time, she is battling alcohol addiction and is struggling to reconcile with her adult son, who views her as a deadbeat parent.

One of the stars of the movie Ordinary Angels smiles in winter gear

Kingdom Story got the idea for the film from its partner studio, Lionsgate, which in turn learned of it from singer Dave Matthews.

“Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band fell in love with this story. He saw the true story of it and was like, ‘This has to be a movie,’” Erwin said. “...So he took it to a producer, Jon Berg, who produced the movie Elf, and said ‘we need to make this movie.’ They ended up taking it to Lionsgate and Lionsgate said, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is a great faith story. It needs to come to Kingdom.’ They brought it to us.”

Tony Young, the chairman of Kingdom Story Company, is an elder in real life at Southeast Christian.

“It was meant to be,” Erwin said.

“This movie is special. When we did the test screenings for it, it scored a 98 twice. It's the highest-tested film in the history of Lionsgate,” Erwin said.

Every movie in the history of Kingdom Story has been based on real-life events. Ordinary Angels is no different. Films based on true experiences, Erwin said, have power.

“The Bible said that they overcame the enemy by the blood of the lamb and the power of their testimony,” Erwin said, referencing Revelation 12:11. “And there's something really powerful about your personal story. And that's why we tell the stories we do and we're privileged to get to do that each and every day to do stories that matter.”

Ordinary Angels is rated PG for thematic content, brief bloody images and smoking.

Image credits: ©Lionsgate

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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Ordinary Angels Is an Uplifting Retelling of the Good Samaritan