Keith’s Movie Korner: ‘Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot’ echoes in triumph

By Keith Walther | RLGR

Angel Studios has once again brought forth a powerfully driven true story that seizes the heart and doesn’t let go. Exactly a year removed from “Sound of Freedom” comes “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot,” which is not a sequel despite the similarity in title. This is a passionately riveting story made on a crowd-funded budget of $8.5 million that took 8 years to make, and the committed patience to getting it right pays off tremendously.

Set during the late 1990’s in the remote East Texas town of Possum Trot, comes a remarkable true story that spurred a movement across the nation. After Donna Martin (Nika King) loses her mother suddenly and tragically, she turns to her faith to take away her depression and give her a new life’s purpose. She receives a calling that will challenge and reward her and her family in ways that she could never imagine.

Donna’s husband and spiritual leader, Reverend WC Martin (Demetrius Grosse), initially hesitant, embraces his wife’s passion to pursue adoption. Reaching out to social worker Susan Ramsey (Elizabeth Mitchell), they ask to take in the children nobody wants to adopt, the ones with severe traumatic backgrounds. The selfless reverend’s family spurs the local community to action, and the small church’s parishioners proceed to adopt 77 children from the local foster system, giving these unfortunate children something they haven’t had before, love and hope.

Ever since Angel Studios released one of the best films of last year, “Sound of Freedom,” they have been churning out one dramatic powerhouse after another, especially arguably the best film of this year so far, “Cabrini.” With over 100,000 American children who still need a home, writer/director Joshua Weigel clearly made this film with the intention to wake everyone up and inspire people to take action and be more selfless. He accomplishes this by focusing this film on the courageously heroic family who persevered to make a difference in this world even when they didn’t have the financial means to live comfortably themselves.

This is Weigel’s directorial debut and it’s a resounding success with brilliant pacing, fashioning each scene with purpose and impact that flow as if crafted from a seasoned maestro. He spent five years researching this story to ensure he properly honored this town’s story and sacrifices as accurately as possible, showing his dedication to detail. Weigel did not hold anything back, beginning by showing some of the trauma these children suffered, and then demonstrating the failure that is the foster care system. He then brings the audience to the solution, which is to open hearts and homes to these kids, while still showing the reality of how difficult that is to help them overcome these past experiences. Using creative cinematography, Weigel heightens the dramatic impact with closeups, reflective shots, as well as perspective angles from the kid’s point of view.

With such a small budget, attracting a star-studded cast is impossible, but they couldn’t have found more talented leads. Nika King, who has almost exclusively worked in TV her entire career, provides a compelling and tear-inducing performance as the matron on a mission of love. The empathy she generates by showing the reality of the ups and downs of adoption enhances the dramatic impact, allowing viewers to see the trials, tribulations, and heartwarming joy. The imperfection of her character’s responses makes it more relatable and genuine.

Demetrius Grosse, who has also spent most of his career in television, is charismatically powerful as the town’s reverend whose words resonate with wisdom and influence. When his character reluctantly agrees to overcome his fears and adopt his wife’s passion project as his own, his shift in demeanor and unwavering determination to see it through and propel a town to follow suit are captivating. This makes his character one the audience wants to see succeed.

The rest of the supporting cast is headlined by Elizabeth Mitchell, a Primetime Emmy nominee for her performance in TV’s “Lost.” She perfectly illustrates the frustration of liberating kids from horrible situations only to struggle to find these troubled children loving homes. When her character finds hope from an unsuspecting town, she naturally latches on to that and does everything in her power to help them succeed.

Like with previous Angel Studios theatrical releases, there is no marketing whatsoever, instead relying on word of mouth. “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot” is intensely inspirational, hauntingly sad, joyously entertaining, and just downright good. This is a must-see for the whole family, but don’t forget to bring a box of tissues, it will be needed.

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July 2024