Cannes Film Festival 2022: Honk for Jesus. Save your soul.
Cannes Film Festival 2022: Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. | Exam
June 14, 2022
A provocative and intriguing title if ever there was one, Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. Features electrifying performances by Regina Hall and Sterling K Brown as Trinitie Childs and Lee-Curtis Childs. Together, they run an Atlanta mega-church, swindling obscene riches from their faithful congregation. Having recently been embroiled in a sex scandal, Lee-Curtis and his first lady were forced to temporarily close their doors until a financial settlement was reached, hiring a documentary crew to plot their path to a successful reopening. Easter Sunday. However, a young and fresh ministry couple, the Sumpters (Conphidance and Nicole Beharie), seek to debut their act the same day, threatening to capitalize on the Childs’ weakened position and seize members of their congregation, who have lost faith in their. Navigating an increasingly desperate period of preparation, the couple resorted to numerous tactics, including a roadside promotional placard bearing the title words.
The film unfolds in a mixture of fly-on-the-wall footage and more traditional storytelling techniques, offering a solution to the inherent problem of making mockumentaries by showing characters in moments of vulnerability they wouldn’t want to air. He also nicely personifies the split personalities of these preachers: the charismatic, finely tuned image that takes center stage and the schemer that operates behind it. Adamma and Adanne Ebo, who direct and produce respectively, however, take their satirical duties seriously and never present their characters as caricatures, but as plausible monstrosities. Despite their reprehensibility, they are carefully constructed characters with depth and humanity.
In this sense, it is clear that the Ebos have a deep affinity for the community they value. There’s no snobbery, and that’s what makes the drama so effective. The tragic notes the film draws from work because it’s not just about two con artists – it’s about a tight-knit community made up of love and a shared passion. From the elaborate Sunday Best to the language of the characters, the film is as much a love letter to a community as it is a satire.
Hall and Brown’s performances are helped align the portrayal of their characters with this ethos. Brown absolutely nails the overwhelming charisma of these preachers, while subtly imbuing her character with a vulnerability that almost invokes pity, while Hall fills the role of Carmella Soprano with equal magnetism, playing the expected role of devoted wife while cracks in her loyalty to her husband are evident from the start. Their performances hit perfect comedic timing, hitting all the emotional beats they need to make the story work.
Despite being ostensibly a mockumentary, the film is surprisingly cinematic and loose in its creative and dramatic expression. It looks stunning, for starters, the ornate set designs of the children’s home and their church pleasingly guilty to look at. Adamma Ebo, in his directorial feature debut, has a clear eye for seemingly effortless shifts in tonal focal point, sometimes within a single scene. The best filmmakers have that quality where the audience is like putty in their hands, and this one keeps viewers soft and malleable for the ride.
Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. does not yet have a UK release date.
Read more reviews of our Cannes Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For more information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.