Sisters reacts to controversial movie


Last updated 7/18/2023 at 10:38am

A seemingly benign recommendation on the social media platform Next Door for the movie Sound of Freedom has ignited a storm of debate. The nationwide app is divided into neighborhoods, with Sisters being one. It is an innocuous site usually filled with notices of lost cats, recipe exchanges and recommendation requests for local services.

But when a user posted: “I saw an extremely powerful movie last night in Sisters at the Movie House” the community conversation changed dramatically. The post has garnered over, 1,800 views and some 80 comments have been added.

The online discussion reached a temperature where moderators pulled down some comments deemed as “uncivil,” or “bullying.” This is the kind of discourse more typically found on Facebook or Twitter than a community bulletin board.

The movie’s controversy is centered mostly around the lead actor’s (Jim Caviezel) alleged Q-Anon sympathies. The movie, based on actual events and Tim Bullard, a Department of Homeland Security agent, is a dramatization of the daring rescue of 54 children in Colombia abducted and sold into sex trafficking.

While the subject matter is deeply disturbing, the movie is devoid of graphic violence, nudity, or profanity. It has Christian overtones that seem to rankle some critics and viewers. Nevertheless, the film has a 100 percent Audience Score at Rotten Tomatoes with over 10,000 verified ratings.

Reviews are mixed from Rolling Stone calling it “A superhero movie for dads with brainworms,” and Variety saying: “Jim Caviezel anchors a solidly made and disquieting thriller about child sex trafficking. It’s been sold as a ‘conservative’ thriller, but you don’t need that mindset to find it compelling.”

It was actually produced five years ago and shelved by Disney. Angel Studios gained rights to the film, which was made with a budget of $14.5 million. It has exceeded every box office projection, skyrocketing to over $85 million in ticket sales by Sunday since it’s July 5 release — from essentially only word-of-mouth advertising.

Sisters Movie House held the film over for another week due to its popularity. It will run through July 20, although Movie House owner Drew Kaza holds open the possibility that it can be extended again. This, despite the coming openings of two much-anticipated films, “Oppenheimer,” and “Barbie.”

“Maybe we can rotate some additional showings into another screen. It’s been very well received in Sisters and on some days has outperformed “Indiana Jones” and “Mission Impossible.”

Kaza confirms that Sisters Community Church bought an entire screening last Thursday with a sellout audience. The church held a discussion group Sunday to further the conversation from the impact the film had on its members, many of whom took to the Next Door app to express their reactions to human trafficking.

Kaza also told us of a local Sisters business that purchased $500 worth of tickets for its customers. The industry-first pay-it-forward tactic provides free tickets for someone to claim and watch at movie theaters. The studio has sold nearly eight million tickets from a goal of two million.

Editor’s note: The author of this column recommended the movie on the Next Door platform.


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