`The Gospel' uplifting but not preachy

MovieReview B+

October 07, 2005|By KEVIN THOMAS

Rob Hardy's The Gospel is another solid entry in the burgeoning African-American faith-based genre that favors inclusiveness over preachiness and presents multidimensional characters. Featuring a number of noted gospel singers, the film is rousing, affirmative entertainment.

Upon the death of his mother in 1992, David Taylor (Boris Kodjoe) turns his back on his workaholic Atlanta preacher father (Clifton Powell). Handsome and sexy, David becomes an R&B star, and his "Let Me Undress You" is riding the top of the charts when he learns his father is terminally ill.

David postpones a tour and heads home - into a hornet's nest. The church is in financial straits, and the assistant pastor (Donnie McClurkin) clashes with the senior Taylor's handpicked successor, the egotistical and ambitious Charles Frank (Idris Elba). Eager to save his father's church, David organizes a benefit gospel concert, but he is genuinely conflicted over what role he has to play in his father's church and its future. In the meantime, he's drawn to the self-possessed choir singer Rain (Tamyra Gray).

The Gospel offers positive solutions but never suggests it's easy for an individual to sort out his priorities in working toward salvation. The Gospel earns its emotional impact, and Kodjoe has a star's presence.

Kevin Thomas writes for the Los Angeles Times.

The Gospel (Screen Gems)

Starring Boris Kodjoe, Clifton Powell, Tamyra Gray.

Directed by Rob Hardy.

Rated PG.

Time 103 minutes.

Review B+

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