REVIEW: “Come Sunday” ventures into controversial topics

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Sharada Vishwanath, Assistant Online Editor

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Faith, by definition, is a complete trust in something. But what happens when you decide that what you believe is completely wrong?

Directed by Joshua Marston, the Netflix original film, “Come Sunday” explores the boundaries between personal and communal beliefs. The film is one of the few that dares to explore the controversy within Pentecostalism: a sect of Christianity widely followed to this day.

Set in a town of Pentecostals in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1998, “Come Sunday” is based on a true story about a world-renowned pastor, Carlton Pearson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who gets accused of heresy after he stops believing in hell. The movie explores his lifestyle after he loses what he loves and puts himself, his family, and his church at risk by standing up for something not widely accepted.

“Come Sunday” has a 64 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with most of the criticism centered on the dryness of the screenplay, which is fairly oversimplified with no stirring moments to give the audience anything to look forward to. The plot attempts to evoke serious thoughtfulness, but results in a monotonous and dry film.

Part of the reason this film came off as dull was because of the lack of dynamic cinematography or interesting lighting. The colors throughout the film blend into a murky brown, and there’s no good use of lighting to make the movie shine.

The single savior of this film is the phenomenal acting of Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ejiofor taps into his character so perfectly, he creates an emotional rollercoaster for the audience. The ideas that he conveys through his facial expressions are so convincing, it almost forgives the otherwise blandness.

Another impressive side of the film, is how much diversity and present day issues it involves, such as how being gay is looked down upon in the Pentecostal religion. In the film, Carlton’s friend Reggie (Lakeith Stanfield) is gay and struggles to find room in his beliefs for his true self. Additionally, Carlton is black which adds diversity and allows for discussion of the racism and segregation at the time the film takes place in.

In spite of the fact that the film comes off as banal, “Come Sunday” manages to blend the important topics of race, gender and religion all into one. Saved by the work of its actors, the movie leaves the audience with a bittersweet sense of the world. Although this movie wasn’t for me, it may be appropriate for an older audience with more somber taste.

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About the Writer
Sharada Vishwanath, Assistant Opinion Editor

 I started writing for the Harbinger freshman year, when I also took a  journalism class. I am currently one of the assistant opinion editors. I like writing for the Harbinger because it gives me a chance to express my opinions and feel connected to my school. Other then writing, I enjoy reading, listening to music and watching Netflix. 

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REVIEW: “Come Sunday” ventures into controversial topics