Day after day we are assaulted with a perversion of sex through ads, television, books, commercials, and social media. We are engulfed in a culture that does not love God or the beautiful thing he created sex to be. The older I become, the less interested I am in Hollywood and scrolling through my social media.
It is for this reason that anytime a Christian movie is released, I make sure I am there to support it. In fact, Francine Rivers has donated all sales from Redeeming Love to charities that are helping in the recovery of sex trafficking victims through her foundation Redeeming Love Sanctuary Foundation.
All that said, here is my summary of the book/movie:
Angel, who is a prostitute, marries Michael Hosea who models a wholesome love between husband and wife. She learns what the love of Christ looks like, and experiences what it means to forgive your enemies. It is through this relationship that she is able to find the love and redemption that God has in store for her.
Below I have organized my thoughts on the book/movie. These are simply my opinions. You may not love the book or the movie for your own reasons, and that's okay. However, with all the negative reviews I've seen, I thought it would be beneficial to add a review as someone who throughly enjoyed the movie.
The Things I Loved About the Movie:
This is the story of a women who is learning what it means to be loved. It is a beautiful image of how God loves us. We are constantly sinning and turning away from God. Again and again the Lord comes after us, he waits on us, and he forgives us. Watching this movie was a great reminder that God loves us despite our sin, not because we're good.
The acting and script was incredible. There have been a few times I walk away from a Christian movie loving the story, but the acting was "meh". In Redeeming Love, they did a great job portraying the characters in my opinion.
The character arc of Angel to Sarah is done so well. If you've read the book, you know it was long. I was worried the character arc would be rushed, but they actually did a really good job keeping the important parts of the book, while leaving out the less vital information. I thought they did a great job incorporating her backstory throughout the movie as well.
The Things I Didn’t Like About the Movie:
My biggest disappointment in the whole movie was that she didn’t sing the hymn in the brothel. That was one of my favorite scenes in the book and I was looking forward to seeing it portrayed in the movie.
There are a ton of missing scenes and character development (mostly in the sub plot characters) compared to the book. That said, it wasn’t horribly disappointing or unexpected considering the book is so long. The movie would have been 10x as long if they kept everything.
The sex scene where she straddles him during the sunset was too much and a little too long. I was not comfortable with it, however I had prepared myself for much worse. I simply looked away. I know much can be said on whether these scenes were okay or not. Personally, I would have preferred this particular scene to be less sensual. However, I could name 10 other popular tv shows and movies that depict much worse and are marketed to our children. If I’m going to die on a hill protesting a sex scene, I will start with 13 Reasons Why, Riverdale, Bridgerton, How to Get Away with Murder… I could go on, but a movie whose overarching theme is redemption in Christ would be last on my list. I understand the frustration with the sex scenes, I just think the frustration should be redirected at corporations like Netflix.
This movie covers a lot of deep issues, deep issues that make for great discussion with your older kids. It opens the door for conversations about sex, abortion, forgiveness, and God’s deep desire to redeem each and every one of us.
Here were a few more of my takeaways from the movie (and the book):
We live in a culture that glorifies sex and perverts it into something it’s not. The culture claims that sex is something “everyone does”. It is okay to have sex whenever and with anyone you want. As Christians, we have to fight this agenda for our families and communities. This is not what sex was created to be. Fighting this culture is a huge struggle by many, including Christians. Specifically when it comes to porn and premarital sex.
I believe it is important for anyone struggling with sexual sin to know that God can not only change your life, but he can redeem and forgive you. Furthermore, it's important for us and our children to understand why they should not be participating in porn, premarital sex, etc. The bottom line answer: God desires our hearts for Him and has created sex to be used in the context of marriage between a man and woman.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God..."
As portrayed in the movie, sex is something to be given within the context of a marriage. Something God created for a husband and wife. It is something for them to enjoy and treasure. Sexual sin, on the other hand, is something God can redeem you from—no matter what you've done.
We live in a culture that devalues marriage and women. Today we’re told to follow our hearts, do what we want. This movie portrays a very different perspective. God values women. He values who they are and their hearts. He doesn’t want us to give ourselves, hearts or bodies away to anything (sex, money, career, dreams, children, our boyfriend/husband) but Him.
God desires us to worship Him and allow Him to work in our lives. He wants us to pray for our spouse, for our marriages, and fight for our families. He wants our hearts, so that we can enter a marriage ready to serve him together for a lifetime.
Genesis 2:18 "Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
This movie portrays a women who believes marriage is holding her hostage when really it’s her own pain, guilt and shame from things that have happened to her and things she has done. Despite everything she has done and gone through, God's grace and mercy is waiting for her. We get the privilege of watching this character redeemed, just as God has done for each and every one of us.
We live in a culture that devalues babies. All our lives we’re told, don’t have sex, you don’t want to get pregnant. When you do get pregnant, they make sure you know an abortion is your best option. God however, never views a child as anything less then a blessing. He is clear that every child is a reward from the Lord—no matter the circumstances.
Psalm 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.”
This movie begins with a prostitute who is forced into abortions (one abortion in the movie, two in the book) and believes she is barren. She believes she cannot be forgiven and in the end she is a redeemed woman given the gift of a beautiful family.
I read a review recently that said Redeeming love was an unrealistic story. It reminds me of the story in Mark 2. Jesus is preaching and a paralyzed man is lowered down through the roof. His friends ask Jesus to heal him, but before he heals his body, Jesus forgives his sins.
"Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?"
We serve a God who can do the impossible—forgive our sins. We serve a God who offers grace and mercy. We serve a God who can redeem us—something no other religion can offer you. Some might call it unbelievable, but when I think about it, all I can see is a gift from God who loved us so much He came down to walk with us, be tortured, murdered, and raised up again so that we might live life abundantly here and spend eternity with Him. There is no one so far gone they cannot be redeemed. This is the beauty of the gospel.
This movie has a story and a message I can and will always stand behind.