“The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” gently reminds faith-based moviegoers that if our hearts are open to God, God will find a way in with His love.
Gavin (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Brett Dalton), a washed-up, once-famous child actor turned party animal, gets sentenced to 200 hours of community service after trashing a hotel’s rooftop bar. He’s assigned janitorial duties at a megachurch in his Illinois hometown. After cleaning a few toilets and mopping a few floors, he decides to work his hours and grace the church’s theatrical production with his experience and presence by auditioning for and getting the part of Jesus. To do so, he pretends to be a Christian.
Kelly (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes) directs the play each year and she’s less than thrilled to have an obviously full-of-himself newbie offering her unsolicited advice. Her Dad, Pastor Allen (D.B. Sweeney), encourages her to give Gavin a shot. Gavin seems to be a nice guy under his tough dude exterior as evidenced when he starts signing with a deaf girl. He explains to Kelly that he had to learn sign language for a role. She challenges him to do the same for his Jesus role by reading the Gospels and getting to know Jesus
“The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” does something that most faith-based films never attempt, lightheartedness. While billed a comedy, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but light and refreshing even if terribly predictable. It manages to inspire without being preachy, evangelizing through a human story rather than shoving God down your throat.
The title of the film implies that Gavin was “dead” in one way or another and that his experience leads to a “resurrection.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” We all have parts of our lives that need to die so as to rise to new life in Christ. All we need to do is offer God a heart open to grace and His love will work wonders in ways we know not of.