Filmed entirely in South Africa this lavish production, based on a best-selling novel, which itself was based on a book within the Bible, is a beautiful tale of love, romance, justice and the cruelty of man.

The Biblical book of Hosea tells the rather unusual story of a prophet commanded by God to marry a prostitute who is then unfaithful to him.  The story here unfolds slightly differently in that Michael, a lonely farmer, having asked God for a wife falls in love with a prostitute and rescues her from a life of being trapped in a sleazy, unforgiving world. Having been abused by men all her life, Angel, or Sarah as we find out her true name is, at first doesn’t believe that any man could be kind, loving, generous or even gentle.  

Having rescued her from the brothel the story still has several twists and turns, some of which involve Michael’s family being unwilling to accept Sarah, her own unfaithfulness to Michael as she runs away at one point and a final reconciliation.

At its heart this is a love story with some wonderful performances.  Abigail Cowen gives a stirring, captivating performance as Sarah. Demonstrating both vulnerability and strength often in the same scene. It’s a demanding role because she is in virtually every frame but it’s because her performance is so convincing that the film works.  Filmed entirely in South Africa the scenery is stunning and Tom Lewis’s performance as Michael neatly mirrors Abigail’s.

The film pulls no punches in showing us how dreadful the life of a prostitute can be, how heartless their pimps can be and how these women are often groomed from a very young age.  It’s also a film which demonstrates the power of true love. Michael’s faith in and commitment to God helps us to understand his motives and that true love, as shown in the Bible itself, is the most rewarding.  

If I have a complaint, it’s that the film is too long, and some might grow a bit impatient with its fairly slow pace. At over two hours it does flag a little at times but do stay with it for the rewarding climax. Beautifully shot, acted and directed you will be glad that you took the time to follow Sarah’s dreadful, but ultimately rewarding life. 

In UK cinemas 16th September 2022

Andy Godfrey

Andy Godfrey is a speaker with Outreach UK and has been in full-time Christian work for many years. He is a founding member of the Mark Kermode Appreciation Society and has a collection of nearly 3,000 movies. He’s also an ardent Bristol City fan.

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