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Movie Review

What if God took the form of a charismatic stranger and drifted into a small American town? What if He healed the broken-hearted, raised the dead, and tangled with the religious leaders of the day? It might look a lot like Joshua, the film adaptation of Joseph Girzone’s best-selling book.

New to the community, Joshua (Goldwyn) is a kind, genial wood carver eager to lend a hand. And an ear. He befriends a troubled teen, a grieving widow, a conflicted priest, an unappreciated housewife and a wannabe preacher with a stuttering problem. But when Joshua starts performing miracles and developing a following, pious Father Trodone (Oscar-winner Abraham, whose presence makes all the difference) takes steps to limit Joshua’s influence and regain control of his flock.

While not entirely allegorical of the life of Christ, the story touches on many of the same issues presented in the Gospels. Joshua dispenses wisdom about faith, unity, the love of God, healing, second chances and serving others. But don’t expect to hear the plan of salvation. The film focuses more on people opening their hearts to the wonder of God and all the warm, pro-social possibilities that entails. In short, Joshua plays like an extended episode of TV’s Touched by an Angel in which the Lord has cut out the middleman. The only cautions are a muffled "h---" and two slang uses of the term "suck," one by Joshua.

"Deep in the hearts of so many people there’s an emptiness nothing in this world can fill," Joshua explains. If this movie heightens viewers’ awareness of that need, it will provide a valuable service. Buoyed by a strong CCM soundtrack, Joshua is a good first effort by the distinctly spiritual Epiphany Films.

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Tony Goldwyn as Joshua; F. Murray Abraham as Father Tardone; Kurt Fuller as Father Pat Hayes; Stacy Edwards as Maggie


Jon Purdy ( )


Epiphany Films



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Bob Smithouser

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