Movie Review: All Saints

Movie Review: All Saints

August 25, 2017
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All Saints is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

All Saints’ cast of characters includes all the makings of a good Southern church: a pastor willing to step out on faith, his supportive wife (Cara Buono), an outspoken church lady (Chondra Pierce), and a grouchy old man (Barry Corbin). No one expects a group of Burmese refugees, led by Ye Win (Nelson Lee), to walk through the doors of the struggling church.

All Saints

These unexpected visitors, also known as Karens, turn out to be the very thing God uses to save the church. The refugees come to All Saints seeking assistance the church seems unable–and unwilling–to provide. Michael promises to, “keep them in our prayers and ask for God’s help.” His solution is met with a challenge: “Aren’t you God’s help?”

The story moves along at a steady pace, from challenge to solution and back to challege again. Space is made to share the plight of the refugees, including heartrending accounts of the conflict they left behind and the people they lost along the way. While this film doesn’t make a political statement about U.S. policies, it does prick the faith community’s conscious about the pressing needs of the refugee community.

We often watch “based on a true story” movies with a skeptical eye. All Saints is refreshingly authentic. It was filmed on location in Smyrna, Tennessee. The very fields that produced the first crop host the actors portraying this true story. Some of the real-life Karen play themselves. John Corbett, Cara Buono, and Nelson Lee give an emotional, tear-jerking performance.

Northern Exposure fans will enjoy the on-screen banter between John Corbett and Barry Corbin, who plays the grouchy Forrest. While Corbett’s character is no Chris Stevens, his positive demeanor is perfectly juxtaposed to Corbin’s rough exterior.

All Saints is an inspirational film that not only encourages individual faith but also the power of community. In a time when racial tension and government policies threaten to divide, this film compels us to respond to people in need. It reminds us that sacrifice for the well-being of another is worthwhile. (Find more on this inspiring message, including an interview with Rev. Michael Spurlock, here.)

Everyone in this film is looking for a fresh start. Michael begins his ministry after a career as a salesman. His wife tries out the role of housewife and choir director. The Karen people came to America searching for hope and peace. Even grouchy Forrest is figuring out his new life as a widower. The beauty of this story begins when fresh starts fall short. None of their stories play out like they dreamed. Together, they give their lives over to a common cause. In this place of faith and sacrifice, everyone finds themselves in a new and unexpected place–and exactly where God wants them.

All Saints is a family-friendly film, rated PG (thematic elements related to the horrors experienced by the Karen). All Saints is produced by Affirm Films and Provident Films. It opens in theaters across America on August 25, 2017. For more information about the film, including resources for churches and refugee assistance, visit


Images courtesy of Icon Media Group.

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Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children spanning preschool to teen. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at

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