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February 21, 2011

'The Washed-Up Geezer Redemption Film'

A pastor opines on 'Gran Torino,' 'The Wrestler,' 'Crazy Heart,' and 'Red' -- but no 'Get Low'


In a brief essay on what he calls "washed-up geezer redemption films," Charles Hambrick-Stowe, pastor of the First Congregational Church, Ridgefield, Conn., writes for Faith & Leadership wonders if such movies "teach us anything about what they might be looking for from the gospel?" He also asks, "What kind of 'redemption' do we find in these movies?"

By "these movies," he's specifically referring to Gran Torino, The Wrestler, Crazy Heart, and Red, and yes he does find redemption in each -- and, unfortunately, in far too spoiler-ific description. Glaringly missing from his list is Get Low, which releases to DVD this week and features the great Robert Duvall in the lead role, playing an aging hermit who has hid in the woods for more than 40 years to pay -- in his mind -- for a specific sin of his youth. To him, grace isn't an option; he wants to pay his penance. But as he encounters others along the way, he begins to consider the possibility of forgiveness. Duvall should've received an Oscar nomination for the role, but was unfortunately overlooked.

Check out our review of Get Low, my interview with Duvall (who knows a bit about geezer redemption), and the trailer: