Ordinary Angels, Movie Review

Find out why Brandon Vick called Ordinary Angels "excruciatingly ordinary" in his full review of the film here:

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Ordinary Angels is excruciatingly ordinary.

Written by Meg Tilly and Kelly Fremon Craig, this glossier, pricier Lifetime movie is a derivative and dull faith-based story where every situation or challenge is easily solved and expectedly pulls on the heartstrings with cheap cliches. Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank spits out a thick Southern accent that’s hard to take serious a lot of the time, yet her and Alan Ritchson (Reacher) do their best to elevate the material with performances from the heart. But it’s painfully obvious and, quite frankly, embarrassing that their roles are so stereotypical. Even though this is based on a true story, there’s so very little here that feels authentic.

After losing his wife, Ed Schmidt (Ritchson) works himself to the bone in order to provide for his two daughters, but it’s been far from easy. The bills are mounting with his youngest daughter sick and urgently in need of a liver transplant. But in this small Kentucky town, help comes from the most unlikely person. Sharon Steves (Swank) is a hairdresser who loves to drink, which has caused a lot of damage in her life – mainly involving her relationship with her son. As she works to get sober in her AA meetings, she finds a new although better addiction: Lending a helping hand to the Schmidt family.

Everything Sharon does gets her that much closer to getting her wings. From fundraising to getting a plane and wiping out medical bills, she repeatedly does the impossible by never taking no for an answer. However, director Jon Gunn doesn’t even try to scrape the surface as to why she’s sacrificing everything for Ed and his family. Sure, it’s great that she can do it but what specifically was it that called to her? If we’re to believe what we see then it’s because she saw the little girl on the front page of the newspaper while buying beer and she just couldn’t help herself from going to the mother’s funeral and introducing herself. Sounds perfectly normal to me.

We can assume all of this basically boils down to seeking forgiveness and redemption, but really? This renewed sense of purpose that suddenly pops up is a bit absurd when first mentioned. Again, the movie reeks of falsehoods yet the audience is expected to happily go along with it because it’s inspiring. Gunn and the writers think all they have to do is show an alcoholic become a vehement savior for a family and their entire community and then just kick back and watch the miracles happen. Tiring and typical if you ask me.

Ordinary Angels shows nothing but negligence in being an unbelievably uplifting movie about everyday heroes. Their stories undoubtedly deserve to be told, just by individuals who care more.

Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.

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