Hot Take: A rare faith-based film that doesn’t beat you over the head with its faith but rather lets the story do the talking.
Maybe it’s just a level of expectation when it comes to faith-based films that when a film like Same Kind of Different As Me comes along, it’s refreshing to have a story of faith told without it going out of its way to smother you in its Christian roots. Instead, Same Kind of Different As Me relies on solid performances from Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger and Djimon Hounsou in this based on a true story tale of Ron and Debbie who are in a struggling marriage and befriend a homeless man while helping out at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ron (Kinnear) is a successful art dealer whose wife Debbie (Zellweger) discovers he is having an affair. She gives her husband an ultimatum to call off his affair and work on their marriage which he does. Eventually, their journey leads to a mission in Texas where Ron uncomfortably helps out with his wife and eventually the pair meet Denver (Hounsou), a gruff, unapproachable homeless man who doesn’t trust anyone. As Ron becomes more comfortable in his volunteer work, he attempts to break down Denver’s walls and befriend the man. Denver becomes a part of Ron and Debbie’s life and the three form a close relationship.
Following Ron, Debbie and Denver’s journey is a satisfying and life affirming tale despite the fact that part of the story is Debbie’s eventual losing battle with terminal cancer. Even this dour note allows Hounsou to shine in the role of Denver and capture the positive spirit of the story. The film is nowhere near perfect and, at times, clumsy in its telling but it sends a redeeming message about acts of kindness and how rewarding they can be. No matter how flawed, the characters are heartwarming and tell a worthy story.
If you’re already turned off by the thought of a faith-based tale, Same Kind of Different As Me might not be the right film for you. However, if the idea of a film tied to Christianity isn’t something you dismiss, Same Kind of Different As Me is a film you might enjoy. Kinnear, Zelwegger and Hounsou all deliver in their performances and the overall positive and uplifting message earns the film points.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- An Unlikely Friendship
There’s no question that the real life friendship between Ron and Denver is an unexpected one. The film does an excellent job of bringing that to life and it never feels overdone or misleading.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Could This Have Been A “Made-For-TV” Movie?
The “A” list cast is about the only reason this film doesn’t end up on television first.