Note: I have not been commissioned in any way or form to write this review, nor have I received any compensation of any sort. This is my honest review of my own free will.
The Hubs and I have interesting date nights. Usually they consist of asking my brother to watch Baby Bear for a bit while we run and do errands or get groceries for the week. Occasionally we will manage to sneak off for a rare dinner for just the two of us. Sometimes there will be a movie at the discount theater that we are interested in. Mr.Church happened to be one of those movies.
I am a sometimes fan of Eddie Murphy, who plays the leading role: Mr.Henry Joseph Church, a man of many talents but chose to cook. Mr.Church is hired by a now deceased man to come and cook each day for a dying white woman and her young daughter in 1971. The man who paid assumed the doctors were right and Mr. Church was paid to be the cook for six months. The job actually lasted 6 years.
Eddie Murphy is known for his comedic roles and although he’s done family friendly films, he is also known for his coarse language, so I was a little wary of what I would find in this movie. But although there is some strong language (the Lord’s name is taken in vain several times, at a point in the story where you see a glimpse of Mr.Church’s private life) and there are a few other words but the majority of the movie is free of that. I was able to see Mr. Church the person, not Eddie Murphy the comic actor. I love when I can do that.
The movie focuses mainly on the relationship between Mr. Church and Charlie, played by Natalie Coughlin as a young girl and then Brit Robertson as an adult. Mr. Church spent his days with the mother and daughter but his nights were his own. He was very big on people respecting his privacy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this life drama. There were lighthearted moments as well as more serious moments, and it is fairly easy to become involved in the family’s lives. It was well written and well performed by the entire cast. I would say that the movie is appropriate for 12 and up but honestly I think adults would prefer it more. As a rating I would give it an A-, with a ding only for the small but heartbreaking language moments. But to be fair, the writer chose the few scenes with the objectionable language to show a crucial point. Had there been cursing simply for the sake of cursing I would have been completely turned off. I really wish there was a way of making a point in movies but Hollywood hasn’t figured it out yet. Movies that don’t have at least a few curse words thrown in are panned as “not realistic.” More’s the pity. Bottom line though? If you want a movie with likable characters and a storyline that pulls you in and even gives you just a little bit to chew on, and possibly revisit more than once, go see this movie or get the DVD. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy.