Hosea—The Condition of Unconditional Love

Hosea—The Condition of Unconditional Love

The scars of childhood remain with us forever, that is, until a lasting, unconditional love can conquer the tragic memories and heal the psychological wounds. Such is the film, Hosea, a powerfully crafted cinematic experience directed and written by Ryan Daniel Dobson and produced by Suzanne Watson and Avril Z. Speaks. Not too many movies stir me at my core as did this film, not only because of the biblically-referenced title but because of the God-like love that it portrays. 

 

The story takes place in Oklahoma City in 2001 following two friends, Cate (Margaret Fall) and Henry (Aidan Singh), who as children were inseparable. Henry asks Cate, “What do you think love feels like?” He answers his own question, “It’s like pop rocks in your chest after running fast.” Henry later tells her that his parents are divorcing and so he has to move to Oregon. He tells Cate, “I love you.” “We’re meant to be.” After he leaves town, a tragedy befalls Cate that alters her hopes, dreams and very existence. 

© 2020 Small Group Films. All rights reserved. 

We then see her as a young adult, played magnificently by Camille Rowe, trying to make money for her handler/boyfriend Donovan (Josh Pence), wearing gloves to hide her scars. As with many women caught up in this dependent lifestyle, Cate squelches her interior pain by cutting. The deeply disturbing images draw the viewer into the horrific experiences Cate endures in order to survive. She sees herself as worthless, though she has an amazing eye for photographic art and takes pictures with an old Polaroid instant camera she found amid a garbage pile. This art becomes her future lifeline and a temporary reprieve from her emotional enslavement. 

© 2020 Small Group Films. All rights reserved. 

When waiting in a bar for her client who never shows, she notices a familiar face at a nearby table. As she leaves the bar, the gentleman turns as if he senses her presence. She goes online to search out what happened to her friend Henry and finds out he is an architect called on to turn an old closed church in town into a social bar and gathering space. Through a deceptively clever way of connecting with her, Henry finds her and tells her, “I said we were meant to be. Did you believe me?” She brushes him off saying, “I’m not what you want.” 

 

© 2020 Small Group Films. All rights reserved. 

The story plays itself out showing Henry and Cate as together but with her feeling never good enough to be with him. Her lack of self-esteem drags her back into her former addictive lifestyle unable to break the emotional hold Donovan has on her. It is a tragic but powerfully transformative tale that reflects the biblical story of Hosea and his prostitute wife, Gomer, who are images of God’s abundant love for his people Israel who have wandered far from him through worship of other gods. A modern-day parable that torments while gently offering the sweet balm of grace.  

 

© 2020 Small Group Films. All rights reserved. 

What struck me the most about the film are the details. Throughout the story are images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas and Mary the Mother of Jesus. It was as if Mary was present to Cate even in the midst of tragedy, always present to offer her grace and mercy to help her out of her heartbreaking situation. Mary is her lifeline that draws her toward unconditional love, just as Mary leads us all to Jesus, to receive grace and forgiveness. God is waiting for us, just as he waited for his Chosen People, to redeem us and clothe us with his compassionate love. God’s loving mercy is always present to us without condition. 

 

This film offers hope, redemption and grace and is being released on digital platforms beginning September 25th, 2020. 

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