I recently came across one of my favorite movies playing on television – The Apostle starring Robert Duvall. I love when you happen to have a lazy afternoon and a great Southern movie happens to be playing. As I watched, I was reminded about how raw and honest the Southern life can be.
Duvall’s character, Sonny is a pastor who loses his congregation and wife all in one fell swoop. Moving from Texas to Louisiana, where most of the film was filmed, even using untrained locals as extra actors to give authenticity, Sonny shows that even pastors are human, though most of the ministers I know would argue that Sonny’s character is a little bit more flawed than one would hope. Still, one of my favorite scenes from the movie is when when he talks to God openly and honestly, even screaming out in prayer.
I love all the wonderful actors in The Apostle. From the beautiful Farrah Fawcett to Billy Bob Thornton to June Carter Cash, and of course, Robert Duvall, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in the role. Duvall was so passionate about the film that he directed and financed it himself after having written the script in 1980 and having not been able to find a studio to film it.
And perhaps my favorite part of The Apostle is the soundtrack. It features country and Southern gospel artists such as Lyle Lovett, Patty Loveless, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris (in a duet with Duval), the Carter Family, the Gaither Vocal Band, Sounds of Blackness, and my favorite, Steven Curtis Chapman. I love almost nothing more than hearing old hymns.
The Apostle is one of those movies that can at once be humorous, poignant, sad, gritty. Awful things can happen at times, but it can be beautiful and even flawed people can do wonderful and loving things.