Ordinary Angels: Making a Difference

By Adam Kline 

In 1993, in small town Kentucky, a hairdresser hears the story of a local family stricken by grief and struggling to pay their bills. The father, recently widowed, with two young girls is burdened by medical bills because his youngest is ill and in desperate need of a liver transplant. The hairdresser, Sharon (Hilary Swank), is motivated to make a difference, but the father, Ed (Alan Ritchson), isn’t so sure he’s willing to accept the help. 

Alan Ritchson as Ed and Emily Mitchell as Michelle in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser

Based on a true story, Ordinary Angels is an inspiring and uplifting film that is told with tremendous care and tender restraint. In the hands of another, a story such as this could easily become melodramatic or emotionally manipulative but, thanks to the care and craft of director, Jon Gunn (The Case for Christ), and screenwriter, Kelly Fremon Craig (Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret), Ordinary Angels, finds a way to remain sincere and accessible to all audiences. 

Even though there are predictable plot points and familiar character developments, they are easy to accept and enjoy because the performances are so strong. Oscar winner Hilary Swank, plays southern hairdresser Sharon with just the right amount of charisma and charm without becoming cliché. At the same time, up-and-coming superstar Alan Ritchson reveals dramatic depth by playing against type, allowing his physical stature to shrink as his character is overcome by grief and strife. 

Hilary Swank as Sharon in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser

As the story unfolds, elements of faith are shared, but they’re never heavy handed. More than anything, the story’s message is about ‘faith in action’. It’s about the persistent presence of others offering a helping hand, and all the ways we can work together to make a difference. While the story is never short on suffering – from financial hardship, to natural disasters (including storms and tornados), as well as illness and death – it also offers a great deal of hope. In this way, while the film is a little Ordinary, these Angels remind us how miraculous small acts of service and sacrifice can be, and that sometimes, even people can be an answer to prayer.  

Ordinary Angels is available in theatres now.

Leave a Reply