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[Sundance ’22] ‘Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.’ review: God don’t like ugly

Time for a revival.

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. is a Sundance Film Festival world premiere that looks at the effects of the collapse of a megachurch. Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) has invited a film crew into his home after a scandal has led to a mass migration away from his church. His wife Trinitie (Regina Hall) is skeptical, but eventually agrees to chronicle the rebirth of their congregation.

The film is told in a faux documentary style. This allows for insight into character development that is both revealing and subtle. Though Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul is about both of the Childs, it is arguable the main focus is Trinitie. Hall is great in the role. Her demeanor can change at a moment’s notice, and her facial expressions are some of the stand out moments of the film.

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The character works so well since Hall’s acting is never exaggerated despite Trinitie residing in an over the top world. On the surface, Trinitie is a ridiculous character (the fact she goes by the title “First Lady” speaks volumes), but Hall does what the moment requires. A great example of this is when she talks about the importance of a church hat. The scene is as funny as it sounds, but this is only because Hall plays the whole thing straight.

Brown fully takes on the role of a Baptist pastor. He is loud and boisterous and commands the screen. In the parts that require Lee-Curtis to be more toned down, the audience will still be caught up with what the disgraced man of the church is going to do next. The plot may end staying too close to Trinitie. Other characters are introduced like the pastors of a rival church, but none are really fleshed out. Even the ending falls a little flat as it does not get across the complete feeling it seems to be aiming for. Still, there are some strong performances and funny moments.

The Sundance Film Festival is online January 20- January 30. Tickets can be purchased and a full lineup can be found here.

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