Ordinary Angels Review

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Rating: 4/5 

Synopsis:

Hillary Swank and Alan Ritchson turn to the faith based genre with “Ordinary Angels”. Based on the heartfelt true story, Ed Schmitt has fallen on bad luck. After the passing of his wife, his youngest daughter is in need of an emergency liver transplant. Drowning in medical bills and at his wits end, Ed can’t seem to catch a break. But a local hairdresser with a troubled past hears about his story. She decides to turn her troubles around by helping Ed and his family. Through the power of perseverance, faith, and a loving community, Sharon embarks on an impossible mission to save Ed’s daughter by any means necessary. 

Positives:

I believe the faith based genre is seeing a change of pace. They are nicely weaving in messages of community and faith with everyday people. This will likely appeal to the crowd it was intended while reaching a larger demographic. “Ordinary Angels” is a perfect example of this trend, managing to tell an incredible true story full of real life emotion. After a few months of forgettable films, “Ordinary Angels” kicks off what is hopefully a change of pace for the movie industry. The story isn’t complex at all, putting its attention on the characters. Hilary Swank is wonderful as usual, reminding audiences why she has won two Oscars. Her southern drawl and chippy stick-to-it iveness are a pleasure to watch as the complexity of her character is revealed throughout the film. She is matched by Alan Ritchson, who trades in his macho tough guy persona to be a tender girl dad. He has a handful of scenes that will make fathers and mothers alike want to grab their children and shower them with love for the rest of the night. He gives a wonderful performance here. Nancy Travis also adds a nice moral supporting role as Ed’s mother. Tamara Jones is also full of energy as Sharon’s hairdressing partner. Everyone here does nice work!

The film is well paced, never dragging while keeping the situation at hand interesting. What could have been an overly depressing story is filled with hope and positivity. This is important as the central message of the film is all about resilience and community. The final act of the film is outstanding. Where the story was largely setting up these characters and their struggles, the last third is filled with heart racing situations where Ed and his community have to adapt to come up with new ways to save his little girl. Jon Gunn’s direction amplifies the story at the right time, giving audiences a tension filled finale with a wonderful reward. The story has some surprisingly nice music to accompany it as well. But what I loved most about “Ordinary Angels” is that it doesn’t try to be anything but positive. We encounter a set of characters that are all living different lives with different struggles. Through the power of Sharon’s perseverance and Ed’s love, a community did the impossible. It’s inspirational to see the power of humanity come together when it’s needed most. Sometimes a well acted film with a nice message will do the trick, and that’s exactly what “Ordinary Angels” does. 

Negatives:

There’s not much to pick apart with “Ordinary Angels”. I feel like you’d have to try not to enjoy this even a little. The main aspect that may make some viewers groan is the predictability. There’s not an ounce of surprise within the story. Most plot beats we’ve seen a hundred times over. Sure, there’s some familiarity to be had, but it’s hard not to root for these characters as they embark on a journey viewers wouldn’t believe. A sequence ensues in the second half of the film where Sharon is meeting with the bank about Ed’s financial troubles. I found this scene the hardest to believe (I’m not sure if this particular encounter actually happened) but it was hard to buy into it being a real part of the story. I doubt banks are that forgiving. The film also loses a bit of steam in the middle chapter as certain aspects of the story feel repetitive. At least the wonderful third act redeems it and ends on a high note. 

Conclusion: 

“Ordinary Angels” is an impressive faith based film that leans more into the humanity rather than the preaching. The nice blend of faith and community leaves audiences with a heartwarming story about a family in need. The assistance they receive pioneered by a remarkable woman proves that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. It is a simple story about coming together. I really enjoyed this one and encourage anyone who wants to support a worthwhile film to get out and see it. It might encourage viewers to hug their families and appreciate all the good they have. For me, that’s plenty to warrant a recommendation.