Year:  2017

Director:  Michael Carney

Rated:  PG

Release:  May 29

Distributor: Heritage Films

Running time: 119 minutes

Worth: $17.50
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Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight

…glows with positivity, warmth, and inclusiveness…

As we all know, these are pretty dark times (but getting a little lighter in Australia at least), so the release of Same Kind Of Different As Me is a good fit. Distributed in the US by Christian company Pure Flix Entertainment, this is top-tier faith-based filmmaking, several notches above this niche market’s usual output. It’s got big name, Oscar-familiar stars (Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight) in the cast; gorgeous cinematography from master shooter Don Burgess (Forrest Gump, Aquaman, Contact); and high profile source material in the same-named true story book by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. Most importantly, it boasts a deeply moving story built on themes of redemption, forgiveness, and unlikely friendship, as well as a rich vein of commentary on homelessness and ingrained racism in America.

In peak form, Greg Kinnear is Ron Hall, a flashy, cocky art dealer whose life takes a massive turn when his sweet, saintly but tough minded wife Debbie (an excellent but near unrecognisable Renee Zellweger) catches him out having an affair. Rather than screaming about his infidelity, Debbie reacts with surprising calm, but tells him that his life is going to change. She doesn’t kick him to the curb, but instead informs Ron that he will now be volunteering with her at the local homeless shelter. Ron is at first disgusted, but quickly warms to the work, and eventually forms a strong bond with the towering Denver Moore (superb work from Djimon Hounsou), an African-American man hiding a shocking history of pain, abuse, and homelessness.

In his debut feature, director and co-screenwriter Michael Carney displays a sure and steady hand, getting strong performances from his great cast (Jon Voight is also great as Ron’s mean spirited father), and wrenching back sensibly on the scenes that could have tilted into sentimentality under less restrained command. Same Kind Of Different As Me is an unashamedly, unapologetically emotional film that provokes strong, stirring feelings solely by virtue of its story and characters; there’s no manipulation needed here. The film practically glows with positivity, warmth, and inclusiveness, and will hit you right in the heart.

Same Kind Of Different As Me will premiere online on May 29. For all information on how to rent and watch the film, click here.


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