Pureflix produces Christian movies and has taken them to a higher level, bringing in well-known actors and high-quality writers. Their recent release of Same Kind of Different As Me stars Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Jon Voight and Dimon Hounsou. Their performances have produced the excellence our message deserves to reach out in our communities.
Same Kind of Different As Me is the true story of a Texas couple struggling to put their marriage back together. Greg Kinnear is art dealer Ron Hall who has lost his way, consumed by money and prestige. Renee Zellweger is Deborah, the wife who must choose to stay in the marriage or leave Ron to his vices. She decides to stay and put Ron through his paces to see if he has what it takes to rebuild their life. Their journey involves serving at a homeless shelter, dishing up meals and trying to improve the lives of the homeless who find shelter there. It is, at times, a dangerous place filled with wounded hearts and damaged minds. Dimon Hounsou is a volatile, angry black man, nicknamed Suicide, who carries a baseball bat wherever he goes, using it when the dark mood strikes him. He is the man Deborah chooses to test Ron; what is Ron willing to do to save his marriage; what is he willing to risk for the sake of another?
Suicide, like so many of the homeless, has been broken and tossed aside by society, left for dead. Don’t we all instinctively look the other way when we pass a homeless person muttering to himself or pushing her grocery cart piled high with useless items? In Seattle it is a massive problem, an overwhelming situation with no obvious solution. Suicide was a remnant of the dysfunctional south after the Civil War, several generations still adrift with no skills, no education, and unable to recognize or embrace their freedom. When Deborah and Ron find him he is out of his mind with fear and anger, fighting the whole world that seems bent on his destruction. He wields his bat to clear his path, to keep all at a safe distance, building a fortress of intimidation.
Deborah is fearless and pushes Ron beyond his comfort zone to break down Suicide’s barriers. Without being patronizing, without forcing a relationship, they are able to gain his trust. In revealing their own weaknesses, Suicide becomes Denver Moore again, the man he once was and lost along the way. Deborah and Ron love Denver back to his humanity, back to the man God created him to be, and heal their relationship in the process. Baptized as a young boy, Denver returns to the love of Christ, healed by the Holy Spirit. As he stands before the congregation in a moving speech, he appeals to his listeners, reminding them we are all God’s children, created in His image, and equally loved. Recalling his own reclamation, that every act matters, and paying tribute to the Halls, he says, “You never know whose eyes God is watching you through.”
Jon Voight is Ron’s abusive, alcoholic father who sheds light on the origins of the destructive behaviors that nearly cost Ron his wife and family. Through the love of God and Deborah’s forgiveness, he is in turn able to love and forgive his father.
Same Kind of Different As Me is so very relevant for our day, living here in Seattle. I am not as brave as the Halls. But, the movie challenges us all to prayerfully seek how we can make a difference in the lives of those who are the same kind of different as we. It is rated PG-13 and available on Netflix.
~ Cheryl Kurtz