WHAT TO SEE: All Saints
Starring John Corbett, Cara Buono,
Barry Corbin and Nelson Lee
Run time: 108 min
Those who remember the 1990s TV series “Northern Exposure” will appreciate the casting of John Corbett and Barry Corbin in this satisfying film of keeping faith amid adversity. Michael Spurlock (Corbett) left a career in sales to become a man of the cloth, and his first pastoral assignment is to shutter and sell the rural Tennessee property on which the dying All Saints Episcopal Church is situated. The few remaining parishioners, including the crotchety veteran Forrest (Corbin), respond with the expected disdain of people who feel their church is abandoning them. The situation changes radically with a sudden influx of Burmese refugees, ethnic Karen farmers who have fled persecution and violence in their home country. Inspired, Spurlock devises a plan to have the Karen settle and farm the property, thereby creating a home for the refugees and an income stream to save the parish. This goes against his bishop’s orders, but Spurlock was accustomed to clashing with higher-ups in his previous career — and so that suits him fine.
Producers have gotten better about making faith-based movies that project positive values without getting too preachy. This film ranks among them. The acting and script are excellent, the conflicts are realistic, and there is plenty of self-doubt in the midst of belief. There’s also a good message here about what a united community can accomplish. To top it all off, it’s a true story, filmed on location at the actual church where it all happened in Smyrna, Tennessee.
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.