Movie Review: Redemption of the Commons

Lisa HollowayBy Lisa Holloway5 Minutes

If ever you need to feel better about the bad day you just had, Redemption of the Commons is the movie to watch.

Victor Clay (Jeremy Marr Williams, Genesis) is a market branding consultant in L.A. He’s a good-looking guy in a nice suit who seems to have his pitch down pat. But Victor has a past. And as we soon discover, Victor lives in his van—a van that runs out of gas, leading to a series of bad incidents on his way to a key presentation. (Do I need to tell you this presentation flops?)

I could say my takeaway is that it’s better to call and reschedule a presentation than it is to show up with ketchup on your shirt and no laptop. But is it? Sometimes before God can work in our lives, we have to come to the end of ourselves. And smart, talented people like Victor can have a really hard time finding that end.

When I Am Weak…

As the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It was when Paul was weak that he most felt the power of God as an active force in his life. This is a power that Victor still needs to discover when everything he’s worked for has failed.

So he goes back home to a rural trailer park called The Commons. Soon he finds out he’s not the only one struggling—his hard-working ex-fiancée, Hope (Susan Loraine Anderson, Bigfoot), for starters.

He also confronts childhood memories of other kids making fun of him for where he lives. This rang true for me. I recall the first time someone laughed at me for living in a trailer or the first-grade teacher who made fun of me because I was a nobody and she could. Not so different from Victor’s experience with rude neighbor kids who lived in houses.

Yet the cross-stitch that family friend Pop (Ed Silvera, The Other Side) has up on his living room wall says, “Your life is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.” That gift will not be defined by Victor’s socioeconomic status, but by the God who made him with a unique and perfect purpose.

Before he can find it, Victor will have to face his past and fight down all the words others label him with—like “trash.” And that’s just from his hard-drinking brother, Shamus (Anthony Garner, The Afflicted), who’s struggling with his own regrets.

Sticks and Stones

I was raised on the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I didn’t believe it.

Words typically hurt the worst. Get hit and it hurts for about a minute. Other people’s words can get inside us and influence what we believe about ourselves for years. Maybe you’ve noticed it. Words are powerful. God spoke the world into being. It’s a mistake to take words lightly.

The danger is that Satan likes to take what God has made well and corrupt it. He likes to use words to destroy…not create. There’s nothing he can make. Only what he can take.

Who will win in Victor’s life?

Online, Victor searches the question, “What is the purpose of my life?” In so many ways, he’s looking, and that matters. “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). The promise is sure. God has the power to speak new life into being for Victor as he seeks—something that will bring joy to him and to others.

As Pop says, “Son, God’s got you a purpose. And you’ll find it. And when you do, you’ll know…’cause you’ll dance.”

If you’ve ever struggled to know what your purpose is or to move beyond the words people have tagged you with, you’ll want to wait for that moment when Victor dances. Watch Redemption of the Commons to see how God brings him to his purpose!