Jesus Revolution (2023): Earlier in the film, Chuck Smith, a California-based pastor, holds out a Time Magazine issue that bears the words “Is God Dead?” on its cover to his congregation. Chuck heads a church populated by people of his age. The threat that plagues them all unequivocally is their progeny’s aimlessness and inability to toe the line of restraint. Cut to the end. The Times magazine in Chuck’s hands that anticipate the Christian doom is replaced by one that anticipates a new age, an age defined by revolution. It is the 1971 issue marking the ushering of a new age. Chuck is now sure of a beginning.

So, what has changed?

The Jesus Movement sought to bring back to the path and ‘realign’ youth who associated themselves with the hippie movement. Their cries for ‘Make Love Not War,’ although cries for love, were readjusted and made fit for Christianity. The new slogans professed their love for Jesus. The anger of the youth at the American injustice around the world was curbed. The anger gave way to something more suitable for the larger American society. The film is put to the screen following the account of Greg Laurie, who wrote ‘Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today.’

Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie Synopsis & Plot Summary:

The film opens with Josaiah, a reporter, asking Greg, a young student, if he considers himself to be a part of the ‘God’s Forever Family.’ The film leaps a year before. We meet Greg, who is growing up in Southern California against the backdrop of America’s incessant fight against communism and the hippie counterculture that challenged the status quo’s bloodthirstiness. Greg befriends Cathe, a hippie, and she invites him over to join her at a Janis Joplin concert. We also meet Chuck Smith, who is finding himself inordinately unsuccessful to make sense of this rebelling world on psychedelics. Chuck’s daughter, Janette, disapproves of her father’s complete dismissal of the present state of affairs among the youth.

One day Janette meets a strangely dressed man with a cape that reads ‘Jesus Loves You’ and who indeed looks like Jesus. The man introduces himself as Lonnie. Lonnie’s words charm Janette and she drives him down to meet her father. Chuck is infuriated by the presence of a hippie-like man in his house. Greg sneaks out of his school to join the concert with Cathe and her friends.

The concert has surprises other than Janis Joplin. It is a massive turnout of the hippies. The helicopters are seen showering psychedelics at the gathering. Back at Chuck’s place, Lonnie’s impeccable Biblical knowledge and his sermons lead to Chuck getting enraptured by him in no time. He asks Chuck to consider how the Church has turned away from the youth, which has resulted in the youth going astray.  Greg drops out of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and joins a new school to be with Cathe.

Lonnie starts accompanying Chuck to the church. Lonnie’s prophecy and advocacy of change irk the patrons of the Calvary Chapel. But there seems to be no termination of ties with Lonnie as Lonnie invites his friends over to Chuck’s house. Lonnie insists Chuck open the gates of the church for those who have long been away from it. Chuck allows Lonnie’s band, Love Song, to perform at the Sunday congregations. One day, a drug overdose impairs Cathe’s sister, Dodie. This makes Cathe change her path and rescind drugs once and for all. She also cuts ties with Greg due to his increasing addiction.

Jesus Revolution Ending Explained
Jonathan Roumie in Jesus Revolution (2023)

The patrons and ministers of the church vehemently oppose the idea of allowing the youth into the church. One of the ministers complains that the barefooted hippies are making the new church carpet dirty with their bare feet. As a mark of protest, the next day, Chuck undertakes the job of cleaning the feet of all the young hippies who have come to the church. Subsequently, work is done to make the church a safe nest for all the hippies who want to follow the directions of Jesus but have nobody direct them.

Why do Lonnie and Chuck have a fallout?

Lonnie’s claims that he embodies the Spirit of God do not go down well with Chuck. Moreover, with each passing congregation, Lonnie insists on his divine healing powers. Lonnie is resolute in fashioning the movement around his whims. However, Chuck causes impediments to his way of operating.

Chuck asks Lonnie to head a church situated on the riverside. Although Chuck cites the appropriateness of Lonnie’s personality to take up this role, Lonnie senses that the true objective of Chuck might be more leaned towards appeasing the ministry. Chuck, who is not very fond of Lonnie’s methods, asks him to pull back on his theatrics. But Lonnie is in no mood to accept that idea.

Greg, on the other hand, shows enthusiasm to join the church instead of Lonnie. Just when the movement starts picking up hagiographic tendencies, with Lonnie claiming himself as the prophet to the TV interviewers and continuing his stint of ‘curing’ people, Chuck asks him to leave Calvary Chapel. Soon, Chuck leaves for Florida with his wife to fix their marriage. Before leaving, he hints at passing the baton of furthering the movement to Greg.

Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

What happens to the movement in the end?

After Lonnie leaves, Chuck asks Greg to take up responsibilities as a pastor at a different church on the riverside and spread the movement far and wide. Chuck shows remorse for not supporting Greg earlier when he was asked to withdraw his services from the other church. In fact, Greg happily takes up the role of evangelizing. He then reconciles with Cathe and asks her to marry him.

A reporter from Times publishes a story on the movement titled ‘The Jesus Revolution.’ Chuck is elated at the furor that the movement has created. That the movement is no more a movement of California is stated in the story that Time produces on it. Chuck says that the fires of the movement have spread to Los Angeles, Vegas, and even in southern states like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It earns the credits for being the largest Christian youth gathering in America. The film ends with Chuck proclaiming that it is the beginning of something greater to follow.

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Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Cast of Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie: Joel Courtney, Jonathan Roumie, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Anna, Grace Barlow, Kelsey Grammer
Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie Genre: Drama/History, Runtime: 1h 59m
Where to watch Jesus Revolution

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