Ossus Library Index Drama Movie Index


Directed by Penny Marshal (1996, Touchstone Pictures)
Starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance, and Gregory Hines

An angel helps a preacher's faith at Christmas, while also falling for the preacher's wife.

View count: Twice



3+ stars+

December 20th, 2002 on Video

    Alright, so I found the movie a little slower this time around. Still, it was well-acted and very reasonably developed, plot-wise.

The characters were quite believable, which is very important. Dudley the angel really steals the show at the beginning, and the interplay between him and Reverend Henry Biggs is really funny. Biggs thinks this is a nut-case, with his rules and claims that he works for the Big Guy himself! Later, Biggs is happy to have Dudley deal with his family, since he doesn't have time for them any more.

It's no wonder that Dudley finds himself attracted to Julia, the Reverend's wife. He also gets along splendidly with their son, Jeremiah. No kidding, though, since Jeremiah was so very cute!

Even though he neglects his family to do his work, his heart is obviously not into that part of his life, either. He barely puts up a fight when one of his charges, the son of his secretary, is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He thinks there is nothing he can do when his son's best friend in the whole world is sent to a foster home so far away. His church is in danger of being demolished because of a real-estate businessman who owns the mortgage. Biggs feels like he can't do anything right. At the same time, he has loads of other work to do, from visiting parishioners in the hospital to delivering baskets of toys. Family life only makes it worse, with Julia nagging him (for good reason) and Jeremiah begging for attention.

Dudley is not very good at doing what he was sent to Earth to do, though. He doesn't get through to Biggs until the man notices that his wife is spending a lot of time with this stranger. Only then, days into their relationship, does he decide to face his problems at home. The old saying goes that when you solve the problems at home, the other problems start fixing themselves. In this case, Biggs works the other way around, but in doing that, getting the boy out of jail, refusing to accept the demolition of the church, and so on, he becomes a hero to his family, which helps to fix it.

The music was great, and definitely in a holiday theme. I just love watching and listening to gospel choirs, because they are so energetic!

However, there were some really slow moments, especially near the beginning of the film. The ending didn't really seem to fix the problem, and we are led to believe that it fixed itself once Dudley removed himself from the picture. It's unfortunate that they don't have any memory of him, because they could look back on that Christmas as a redevelopment of their relationship, but I suppose everyone who was visited by an angel would blabber about it, and their work would be so much more difficult then!

So maybe this movie isn't for renting every year (as I have already ignored my advice from below), but every so often, maybe it would be good as a refresher.



4 stars

December 21st, 1998 on Video

    This was a great story, with great characters, and great acting.  Probably one to rent every Christmas.  

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