Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis heat up the screen in a love story for the ages in the new film REDEEMING LOVE, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Francine Rivers.
REDEEMING LOVE Review
Set in the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, REDEEMING LOVE is a love story of a couple whose relationship clashes with the times and everything they know to be true. Rivers' novel is inspired by the Bible's Book of Hosea with, the story of Hosea and Gomer and a central theme of the redeeming love of God towards sinners. The movie adaptation is similar to the book but definitely earns its PG-13 rating.
REDEEMING LOVE Review—What Works
Translating books to film can be challenging. Often the intent of the author is lost, as is the story itself. So many changes have to be made in order to bring scenes to life and to make a movie flow. REDEEMING LOVE is based on a novel of the same name by Francine Rivers, which has remained on multiple fiction bestseller lists for over 15 years and published in more than 30 languages. Francine Rivers, the New York Times bestselling author of over 30 books, worked with director D.J. Caruso for the screenplay to ensure the beloved story stayed true to its roots and it shows. Those familiar with the book and looking for a story that follows closely to what Rivers originally penned should be pleased with this adaptation.
However, while the movie adaptation does follow the book fairly closely, one of the obvious divergences is the departure from the heavily Christian influence. The movie leans much less heavily on the use of the Christian word than the book. Overall, this makes the movie less niche and likely a better fit for the mass audiences—as a whole, this makes the movie much more approachable and marketable for the non-secular crowds.
Casting—Abigail Cowen is perfect as Angel
Abigail Cowen portrays Angel, the main character in the movie. Cowen, while no stranger to the screen, is certainly more known for her cult TV roles, such as on the Netflix original series “Fate: The Winx Saga” and “Sabrina.” Her versatility and depth as an actor shine as Angel. Cowen makes the audience see and feel her pain and struggle and is perfect as Angel.
Angel was sold into prostitution as a child and has managed to survive through hatred and self-loathing, sex trafficking and abuse. When Abigail meets Michael Hosea, she discovers there is no brokenness that love can't heal.
Tom Lewis portrays Michael Hosea, the naive and handsome love interest in REDEEMING LOVE. He falls for Angel–hard–and is relentless in his pursuit of her. But love perseveres.
The chemistry this duo exudes on screen is palpable. You'd think this pair had worked together forever, yet this is the first time they had ever worked together.
REDEEMING LOVE Review—What Doesn't Work
REDEEMING LOVE is long. In our opinion, too long. While the acting isn't terrible, there are scenes that are overly drawn out that could be tightened up and some just cut. Coming in at 134 minutes, REDEEMING LOVE feels like a movie that would be better served at a bit under 2 hours and maybe even closer to 90 minutes.
While the movie adaptation does follow the book fairly closely, one of the obvious divergences is the departure from the heavily Christian influence. The movie leans much less heavily on the use of the Christian word than the book. Overall, this makes the movie less niche and likely a better fit for the mass audiences, but the few moments where they do lean into the Christian religious aspects, they feel off, forced, and out of place.
Is REDEEMING LOVE Safe for Kids?
Hard stop. No. REDEEMING LOVE is not safe for kids.
REDEEMING LOVE has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for “Partial Nudity, Mature Thematic Content, Sexual Content, and Strong Violent Content”—and it earns every moment of that PG-13 rating. The story may be Biblical in nature, though this particular Bible story encompasses adultery, sin, and forgiveness. Brothels, pedophilia, sex, sex trafficking, rape, adultery, abortion—that's just the short list of topics that are not child-friendly.
WATCH: Exclusive Interview with Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis on chemistry, behind-the-scenes, and more
Watch the Trailer (1) REDEEMING LOVE
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About REDEEMING LOVE
REDEEMING LOVE is a powerful and timeless love story that takes place against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush of 1850. The story centers on Angel (Cowen), who was sold into prostitution as a child. She has survived through hatred and self-loathing until she meets Michael Hosea (Lewis) and discovers there is no brokenness that love can’t heal. The story reflects the redemptive power of unconditional and sacrificial love with characters and circumstances relevant to the contemporary world.
Nthibah Pictures, Mission Pictures, and Pinnacle Peak Pictures announce the release date of the highly-anticipated film REDEEMING LOVE, distributed by Universal Pictures in U.S. and Canadian theaters for January 21, 2022. Directed by D.J. Caruso (xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE), it stars Abigail Cowen (“Fate: The Winx Saga,” “Sabrina”), Tom Lewis (“GENTLEMAN JACK”), Logan Marshall Green (UPGRADE, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, PROMETHEUS), Famke Janssen (X-MEN, TAKEN), Nina Dobrev (xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, “VAMPIRE DIARIES”) and Eric Dane (“Euphoria,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” THE LAST SHIP, X-MEN).
RATING: PG-13 (Partial Nudity|Mature Thematic Content|Sexual Content|Strong Violent Content)
RUNTIME: 134 min.
STARRING: Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Eric Dane, Nina Dobrev, Famke Janssen, and Logan Marshall-Green
DIRECTED BY: D.J. Caruso
SCREENPLAY BY: D.J. Caruso & Francine Rivers
BASED ON THE BOOK BY: Francine Rivers
PRODUCED BY: Cindy Bond through her Mission Pictures International label; Simon Swart and Wayne Fitzjohn, through their Nthibah Pictures production banner; and Michael Scott, and Brittany Yost for Pinnacle Peak Pictures and Vlokkie Gordon of Advantage Entertainment
REDEEMING LOVE is playing in theatres January 21, 2022.