Esther Harris, a young woman praised for her virtue and devotion to Warren F. Vanderbilt's Prophetic Watchman Ministries, has been given the opportunity of a lifetime - to attend Vanderbilt's Kingdom Bible College and to marry Phillip Sawyer, the son of a minister and a Kingdom student being groomed for the ministry. When the fundamentalist Christian sect falls on hard times, Esther looks for employment at a local health food store to supplement the group's income. At the store, Esther gets a chance to share her faith with her new manager, Gabriel, a devout skeptic and preacher's kid, and his roommate, Mark, a college drop-out who finds Christian television to be great entertainment. Shot entirely on location in Southern Indiana and Austin, Texas, Paradise Recovered attempts a modern-day retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan while addressing the important topics of faith, tolerance, and spiritual abuse in modern culture. Written by
I saw Paradise Recovered when it was screening at the Film Courage Interactive in Los Angeles a couple years ago, and met Andie Redwine (screenwriter) and Storme Wood (director), who were both great people. It sort of makes sense that they would make a great film. I see a lot of bad indies - more specifically indies that try desperately to be profound, or memorable, or poignant - but what surprised and delighted me was that Paradise Recovered was a real gem in a haystack. It was a perfect marriage of a smart, witty script, unforced, seamless direction, and two natural, likable leads. It was simple and ultimately powerful without ever trying. It certainly could have been preachy, full of itself, and over-dramatic, but Andie's script - and from what I've heard it's largely autobiographical, about growing up around a "cult" - feels really authentic and delivers a tangible message. Definitely worth checking out. I wouldn't steer you wrong.
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