An apt critique of exploitation in the megachurch culture; Adamma Ebo’s “Honk for Jesus Save your Soul’’ is something of a ridiculous and hilarious train wreck that cannot be looked away from. This mockumentary-style satirical comedy which is a feature-length adaptation of a short film of the same name takes us through the inevitably doomed journey of a vain and narcissistic pastor as he desperately tries to find redemption. Ebo doesn’t leave much room for misinterpretation of the message even with the passive and often absolutely absurd storytelling; making it a flawless blend of witty and slapstick humor.




Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul (2022) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall) playing the part of the quintessential devoted wife who stands by her man no matter what, works with the documentary crew that her husband, the “fallen” pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) has hired to help him with his much controversial comeback. The pastor-first lady duo is seen struggling to get their church, Wander to Greater Paths, to open back up and for Lee-Curtis to redeem himself after the ordeal of him facing sexual misconduct allegations by several of his congregants.

The documentary crew led by Anita (Andrea Laing) who stays behind the camera for the entire duration, follows Lee-Curtis and Trinitie as they give them a thorough and embarrassingly self-revealing tour of their megachurch and their lives. Rejecting “Blessed be the meek” and being their bizarre and extravagant selves, the couple makes the crew film them as they show off their incredibly grand church and flaunt the unimaginably grand collection of high-end outfits and shoes.




Since the scandal, the church’s congregation number has gone down to 5 from 25000. The five odd people of faith include a mother who wants to keep her daughter occupied with the theatrics of the sermons, an old couple with blind faith in the idea of redemption, and a young man who does not believe that Pastor Childs can do any wrong. After Lee-Curtis’ rather dramatic rebaptism, the couple gets into an argument about “ay-men” and “ah-men”, creating more work for the crew as they have to do several retakes.

The mostly linear progression of the story is sometimes interrupted by the flashbacks of Lee-Curtis’s sermons which serve as a more intimate observation of his faith which is often problematic and his vanity that he’s laughably unaware of.




Keon Sumpter (Conphidance), the pastor of the rival church Heaven’s House, along with his wife Shakura Sumpter (Nicole Beharie) are seen effortlessly taking advantage of the Childs’ downfall while also publicly supporting them so as to not go into an active ugly war. They plan the grand opening of their church on Easter; the same day as Wander to Greater Paths’ reopening.

As she tries to keep the crew out of their morally-questionable personal lives, Trinitie is faced with a passive-aggressive argument with ex-congregant Denetta. With every awkward encounter she has with people and every fruitless conversation she has with Lee-Curtis; Trinitie’s faith in him and their marriage is seen to be fading. Following the teachings of the church and every religious household, Trinitie seeks her mother’s guidance and is met with a reaction that both reassures her with denial and disturbs her with a promise of lifelong unhappiness.




As the reopening day approaches and with failing to convince the Sumpters’ to postpone, Lee-Curtis and Trinitie are found in a state of desperate brainstorming. Lee-Curtis convinces her to bring the opening a week forward but what they don’t know is that the Sumpters’, keeping an eye on their every move, are also planning to do the same. Along with preparing a “groundbreaking” sermon that falls rather flat; they stand on the side of the road with an idol of Jesus. Trinitie holds up a sign that says “Honk for Jesus” as an attempt to draw attention and following Lee-Curtis’ advice, shakes it for the Lord.

During a “mime-praise” that Lee-Curtis coerces her into doing, they get confronted by Khalil, one of the victims of Lee-Curtis’ crimes and the uncomfortable conversation that follows is mostly Lee-Curtis trying to justify his actions. Every word that comes out of his mouth sounds like an echo of “I am not a pervert. I am a sinner.”




Movie Review:

It is no surprise that with phenomenal actors like Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall, a producer like Daniel Kaluuya who is also well-known for his incredible achievements as an actor, and with an executive producer as creative as Jordan Peele; the movie would be thoroughly entertaining.

With such an outstanding crew, the expectations from this movie were without a doubt sky high. But by delivering a compact and incredibly well-written storyline that deals with sensitive topics and is funny when it needs to be; Adamma Ebo has met and exceeded all the expectations with her feature debut. Expanding the content of a short film can be quite tricky when it comes to the addition of new elements as the writer needs to make sure that the new and the old blend in effortlessly and it can be said that Ebo has done a flawless job at that.




When it comes to acting performances; Regina Hall was not just outstanding; her performance surpassed even that of Sterling K. Brown who himself did an amazing job. Be it her impeccable comedic timing or merely her expression when she’s not even saying a word; Hall most certainly steals the show and deservingly so.

Even without diving too much into the details of Lee-Curtis’ wrongdoings, the movie manages to get its point across. There’s an empathetic acknowledgment of Faith being more than just devotion and of the church being more than just a place of worship for its diverse congregation. Every aspect of the movie and its sensitively handled nuances come together and deliver a courageous critique of the exploitation of blind faith, without criticizing Faith as a whole.

Honk for Jesus. Save your Soul. (2022) Movie Ending, Explained: Delusion or Denial?

Lee-Curtis’ desperation for the success of his redemption reaches a new height when he manipulates Trinitie into putting on mime make-up and performing praise-mime on the side of the road despite she voicing her discomfort. Ignoring the indifference if not straight-up rejection that their “honk for Jesus” agenda was already facing, the couple manage to make an even more absurd spectacle of themselves with the mime routine.




Trinitie’s obvious humiliation masked under the black and white on her face meets an even more awkward trial when Khalil holds up the traffic while sitting in his car and staring at her. Instead of driving off; Khalil gets out of his car and faces them. The thin veil of denial that was slowly slipping, gets a rapid pull as Trinitie stands there with a terrified gaze watching Lee-Curtis answer Khalil’s question with a long-drawn speech about his comeback being an absolute necessity for people who need their souls saved. Her inner turmoil seeps out during the course of her frantic walk toward the church and her self-deceptive answer to Anita’s question “why don’t you leave?”

With the inevitable success that the Sumpters relish; Lee-Curtis’ well-deserved defeat and doom begin to transpire. Lee-Curtis being hopeful about at least 500 people coming to their church while receiving the obvious 5 is an interesting observation of the possibility that his denial may have gone too far and taken the form of absolute delusion.




His shady activities that are either shown or talked about during the course of the movie and his manner of delivering a passionate justification for all of it point towards the possibility that he may have started believing in the lies he’s been telling himself and to others. While Lee-Curtis is found being as excited as ever looking at an empty driveway with just one car spinning; Trinitie’s face is of someone who most likely has reached the ultimate acceptance of the bitter truth.

Read More: Here’s Where to Watch and Stream Sterling K. Brown’s New Movie ‘Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.’ Online

Trailer

Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul (2022) Movie Cast – Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, Conphidance, Austin Crute, Devere Rogers
Where to watch Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

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