A great film is one that does not leave me for many days. This film will surely have me thinking for a very long while. (by aboutbeans)
This documentary is gold. As the ending titles begin, you may feel that your world will never be the same. If you were raised and possibly scarred from your small, primarily Christian hometown, this film will especially hit home pun intended . I watched it with my boyfriend. We were both left questioning our existence. I think they call that thought-provoking. Following are samples of my own questions. My boyfriend was left with many more questions of his own. Where is the balance between Christian love and Christian judgment? Must there be an 'us' and a 'them'? Is doing good <more>
for others in essence a selfish act? Do we recognize others' needs and fulfill them just in part to be recognized ourselves? Is the need to feel needed just the need for attention or recognition? Is it narcissistic to think we can bring positive change in others' lives? Must we realize how small we are and what our capabilities are in fulfilling others needs? When can we feel truly fulfilled in the small, local, sometimes unrecognized but integral good we do? How can we feel validated in the good we do for others without applause? To me a great film is not necessarily one that leaves me with questions. A great film is one that does not leave me for many days. This film will surely have me thinking for a very long while.
Profound, Sobering, and Completely Devastating (by rahulkamath)
As I write this, I have come to the realization that the Overnighters is among the most thought-provoking and well-made documentary movies I have ever seen. It is beautifully composed and edited, but sobering and utterly devastating on nearly every level.What makes this documentary so moving is that it draws out, in very sharp relief, the eternal tension we all have as individuals and as a society between choosing love and choosing fear-- and rarely does the right choice seem so unclear as it does here.After all, it's all well and good to say "love thy neighbor" when you're <more>
talking about neighbors as abstract entities, but what happens when your Christian community is actually confronted with a strange set of outsiders who walk your streets and sleep in the town's parking lots? How do you react when they seem like scary and violent intruders, the source of crime and chaos in your formerly sleepy Northern town? Then, suddenly, the teachings of Jesus must be rendered unambiguous: are these proclamations to "do unto others" just nice-sounding but impractical platitudes, or are they words to live and act by even when especially when? they are difficult? We find this out when the protagonist of the documentary, a small-town pastor in a newly-booming oil town in North Dakota, bravely tries to go far beyond just 'talking the talk' with regards to living out the Bibical teachings. By providing refuge and food to those who have no other place to turn, his church floors become flooded with destitute men and women who have spent their last pennies making their way up to this otherwise desolate land in search of the rumored well-paying jobs that can save their families, salvage their broken lives, and restore their faith in America. These "overnighters" have nothing, and rely on the pastor's kindness to survive until they find the jobs they desperately seek. But they also come with their own problems-- problems that the rest of the town isn't eager to deal with.Over time, we find that this well-meaning man of God-- who is resolutely chained to the idea that he must not simply repeat the ideas of Jesus, but truly live them out-- must travel alone in his journey to do the Lord's work. And it is a path he will pay very dearly to walk.*spoiler alert* He soon finds, like Jesus himself, that all those who surround him will eventually turn on him; first his congregation, then his community, then the destitute overnighters he saves from the streets, and ultimately his own family. Once the final twists and turns make their way through the pastor's life, one wonders if God too has chosen to abandon him.
A contemporary work on The Midwest, Christain views on helping thy neighbor, the oil boom, and sacrifices (by goc6283)
FYI: If you wish to review a better review than mine, I highly recommend the LA Times review. Also, as noted by many critics, this is a great film for fans of the Grapes of Wrath, but it is way more than this.It's the humanizing act of the filmmaker, such as the small talk between the overnighters and especially the scene in the credits. It's the fact that he transforms these faceless people whom the town fears to people that the audience enjoys is what is so astounding. When people disagree with Pastor Reinke's plans, you feel for the overnighters and him. As a respected pastor, <more>
it is hard to imagine how quickly the townsfolk are turning against him.He tries to make you feel for them as much as the Pastor, even if you are not one who thinks "love thy neighbor" or anything related.My single complaint is that for a very brief time, the movie moves a bit too slow. But then right afterward, there is a breakneck pace that sets up for the films conclusion, one that you might not like but has to be shown.Outstanding documentary. 9.4
The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions! (by operaalpha)
Forget for a moment that this is a documentary and see this wonderful movie. There are amazing and unforgettable characters, heart wrenching situations, plot twists and a surprise ending... Everything you could hope for in a movie, made only more poignant knowing that these aren't actors but real people. Desperation, hope, salvation and damnation are all interwoven and you won't know which will come out on top until the end. I can't remember the last time I saw a documentary that was so engaging. The film centers on Pastor Reinke, who helps the often destitute folks who find their <more>
way to his town looking for work, with a place to stay for the night and a bite to eat. We also discover his own demons and limitations. I hope people will ultimately see him in a positive light as I do, for we all fall short of perfection, but director Jesse Moss doesn't push it one way or the other. The film is timely as it forces us to confront many current issues, including the effects of the new energy boom, the lingering effects of job displacement after the great recession, xenophobia, and the ongoing need to help others. See it, you won't be disappointed. It was among my favorites at the Three Rivers Film Festival.
Got more out of this than expected (by MovieHoliks)
I'm not a religious person by any means, but half-way through seeing this, the movie almost starts to rope you in. Pastor Jay Reinke of Concordia Lutheran Church in Williston, ND seems to be practicing what he preaches. He does so by helping those arriving in town for work due to the state's oil boom with accommodations in the church or church parking lot- and sometimes even in his home. Some of those arriving in town have felonies in their past, and Reinke even lets them live in his house with his children nearby, so I kept expecting something to happen. But what does end up <more>
happening not to give anything away was quite a shock- and ultimately made the film for me. Whether you're religious or not, I really think you can get something out of this, even if just a lesson on being non-judgmental, and helping your fellow man...
There's little intriguing about The Overnighters' premise. It's director Jesse Moss' execution that makes it much more compelling than it ought to be. Conflict is around every turn, both external and internal, and the documentary is constantly batting back and forth the balance in its moral dilemma. Both sides to its argument are equally strong - the good in helping those in need and the anxiety about the trouble some may bring, and few have already. Either way, it doesn't sit comfortably. Moss has a brilliant energy to the film and although it feels slightly orchestrated, <more>
in the way that he captures confrontations at the right time and ferocity without missing any key examples, he has a great taste for cinematic conflict. They really work, and they must feed into some kind of reality at least. What makes it such a rich film is that amongst the chaos, it centres around a character study of Jay Reinke. He's selfless, but narcissistic. While many may find him repelling, he's the dark heart of the film. It's a fascinating piece that's deeply flawed and human, never holding back the ugly side or shoving it in your face. One of the best documentaries of the year.8/10