Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love
Redeeming Love
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Romantic period dramas will always be a mainstay in the movie industry, and 2022 begins with an adaptation of Francine Rivers’ bestselling novel Redeeming Love published in 1991. The dusty deserts of California during the Gold Rush in the 1850s seem like an excellent setting for tales of redemption and glory. However, it does not turn out as an ordinary narrative familiar to many. She does not go searching gold or fame like others do in Wild West movies. It takes place inside the small world that is my bedroom at the Palace where I live alone. At some point however one man sees her outside and decides this is going to be his wife because she’s beautiful and rich.

The novel form of Redeeming Love was loved by readers across the globe, having sold over three million copies since its publication in 1991. It became available in over thirty different languages which only makes this one among awaited novels’ release for their fans around the world. Stars such as Abigail Cowen from Winx Saga, Nina Dobrev from Vampire diaries and Logan Marshall-Green have been featured in Redeeming Love.

Cowen has previously appeared on Christian-based films including I Still Believe (2020) which is a romantic drama. Also, Dobrev has also worked on similar historical settings before this time too. This is however not Keira Knightley’s Pride and Prejudice or Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled; it’s a faith-themed film about religion can change entire life even if someone lives at rock bottom.

The protagonist of Redeeming Love is Angel who was once happy living with her mother until things went wrong when she was young after meeting her father at six years old but unlike any other child born into a happy home, her birth story wasn’t exactly joyful news. Her existence was actually caused by unfaithfulness and adultery when her dad comes visiting he doesn’t hide his disdain for her mother and this is just the beginning of something bigger. Angel’s mom goes down a spiral that leads to prostitution.

Sad but true, she gets sick and dies, forcing Angel to forsake the teachings of Christianity that she grew up with. After her mum dies, Angel is sold off and becomes a child sex worker; by the time she grows into an adult, she remains in exactly the same position. There’s one saying Angel repeats over and over again to herself as part of her daily routine. One day she will be able to do what she wants and men only use women around them as objects for their pleasure according to her view. In order to convey these important moments in Angels history as a prostitute there are flashbacks and direct dialogue throughout the movie.

However, it feels like all things considered sinful are ticked off one by one in the film. Sometimes it seems fitting for the story at hand, though sometimes it seems like everything has been shoehorned in to make statements rather than anything else. It starts looking like a play acted out in real life which has gone too far beyond needing explanations or reasons why it should happen. The tragic fictitious account then suggests that external force must come because all hope is lost before someone can assist her from being doomed by everyone who watches this movie on his screen without any intervention on her side

Enter, cowboy and lone dog: he is called Michael and the purpose of his visit here is to explain love and faith to Angel. As Michael waits for Angel to turn around and love him, he keeps on asking her to be his wife without getting tired. He takes care of Angel’s bruises as she shouts at him and hits him with her fists. Following a confession where the angel admits not believing in God, she tells Michael that he will only suffer more from being with her: this is accompanied by an intimate mash-up of domestic scenes. The couple can be seen doing work on the farm or even preparing a chicken meal in a way that one would almost think that they were looking into their loved one’s eyes lovingly irrespective of what happened earlier.

Romantic dramas usually proceed thus: boy meets girl; they fall in love; happy ending. Redeeming Love does not deny it follows this formulaic approach. In this case, however, the boy whose name is Michael comes riding from his farm into town sees Angel dressed in all black immediately deciding that she is the woman he wants to marry. Of course, this is after praying for “any kind of woman.” However much society may tell him to forget about her, but he doesn’t leading them into an unofficial marriage which Angel agrees to mockingly.

The story for Redeeming Love is based on 1991 novel which contained heavy religious elements after its first publication. It can also be said that this movie’s story is a retelling of Hosea Book thereby making it entirely dependent on certain borrowed notion whereby unfaithful relationship between husband and wife directly stands for relation existing between national god of land (originally Yahweh) and his people. Religion plays a role in the movie; Michael prays for a wife, Angel renounces religion and quite literally becomes the embodiment of fallen angel whereas throughout there are many Christian image inserts.

This film’s use of space speaks to the idea of salvation and damnation; Michael’s humble farmhouse in the countryside is so much lighter than the dark palace. At Palace, Angel’s life seems a blend of darkness and gloom while the opening bit of her flashbacks to childhoods are bright as well as colorful sometimes bordering on whimsical. This film questions its space adding a certain nuance that challenges expectations of setting and constructs it is placed within. In Angel’s world, there is claustrophobia, which she cannot escape from—her fight or flight instinct will not allow it until that is, she can repair her relationship with religion and become a person who obeys laws.

The movie Redeeming Love does attempt to save the female protagonist and purify her from her past. Yet, she is shown to be unfaithful to Michael’s religious belief but he still does not give up on her. However, the film fails in undermining the genre’s clichés. Because it is a retelling of the Book of Hosea, the plot never progresses beyond original sin while women have always been blamed for their agonies’ root causes. The author underscores this notion in Redeeming Love by making something that reiterates that Angel is not at fault for where she finds herself. This suggests because she is female, she falls into an unfortunate sequence of events.

Angel’s character traces back to her tragic situation, as she is portrayed as a flat character. There are many exposition scenes in which some flash back takes place and we get tidbits about what was done on her body. Yet outside of being saved this individual has no persona development at all. At different points during the film, Michael repeats this saying that because of his past mistakes Angel doesn’t need him changing for her or him at all but by its end it says otherwise; such a person must change to become someone who can take advantage of better circumstances in life. Consequently, it goes against itself suggesting that even though prostitution may have been one’s only option it couldn’t continue forever like this.

By dismissing Angel’s history with himself however, Michael inadvertently creates an unknown wall between them that makes him oblivious to where she comes from in decisions and actions within her life sometimes. It also perpetuates an idea where for one to be loved they must change themselves and their reality then remake themselves again afterwards so as to live good lives among others worth living with/together with them. In relation to 1800s America, this explores the moral issues behind sex work and whether it should be accepted as a real job or if society just cannot accommodate women like Angel who don’t have other employment options or family support.

The movie, Redeeming Love, is anchored by a cast primarily composed of new faces. It reminds that historical drama can include genuine diversity while the prostitutes are not white and their bodies undergo violence which could be questioned. The goal is to humanize women trapped in dire predicaments, but through melting into genre’s clichés. This is no Clint Eastwood Western film; it does not pretend to be anything more than it actually is. Our cowboy has faith in God and his wife’s ability to change so that there can be a happy ending for everyone.

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