Francine Rivers fans – and anyone who enjoys a touching and romantic period drama – can rejoice! The award-winning author’s bestselling novel has finally been adapted for the big screen.
Since its publication in 1991, REDEEMING LOVE has sold over 3 million copies and has been translated into 30 languages. Retelling the biblical story of Hosea, it centres on the unlikely relationship of Sarah, who becomes known as Angel (Abigail Cowen), and Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis). Sold into prostitution as a child, the now 18-year-old is a beautiful and in-demand woman in a rough and tumble prospecting town in California. Michael, on the other hand, is a farmer and man of faith. Through their relationship, Angel discovers there is no brokenness that love can’t heal.
Cowen says she felt immediately drawn to her character: “Angel is an incredibly complex character who, after suffering a lifetime of abuse, empowered by love, claws her way out of a world of human trafficking and into a place of triumph. It is a very inspiring and timeless story.” For Lewis, it was the fidelity of the script that hooked him.
While distinctly American, REDEEMING LOVE has a strong South African flavour – it was filmed in and around Cape Town and stars several local actors, including Tanya van Graan, Clyde Berning, Stephen Jennings, Brandon Auret and Daniah De Villiers. In addition, the film marks the second collaboration between producers Cindy Bond and Simon Swart.
“South Africa became a huge piece to the puzzle because once we decided to partner up and make this movie, where we would shoot became the debate,” explains Bond. “We quickly realized that South Africa is the perfect home for this film because of the lush green, the mountains, the trees, the vineyards. That is what northern California is, all of those elements.”
In fact, many local businesses were involved, with over 450 vendors and suppliers providing goods and services necessary for the film. Says Swart: “The hard work and collaboration of local and international teams came together and produced a great film. This is a great moment in our short company history and delivers on our promise of producing films that have global appeal.”
The romantic period drama, set in the American Old West, was directed by D. J. Caruso, who co-wrote the screenplay with Rivers. The industry veteran revised the story based on his extensive experience, resulting in a film which stays true to the author’s portrait of pain, unconditional love, failure, forgiveness and, ultimately, the power of God to heal. According to the director, the film teaches us “that healing happens through love and acceptance, never through judgment or force”.
REDEEMING LOVE shows what God’s perfect will is for our lives – untainted and unobstructed by what the outside world dictates. “The book has been a big part of their lives, as it has been a big part of my life,” says Bond. “And for that reason alone, we have gone to extraordinary measures to be incredibly mindful about every single detail of this movie, from the script to attention to the book itself. The film is going to grab everyone because it is just this big sweeping, epic, gorgeous, emotional movie!”
REDEEMING LOVE, is a life-changing story of the power of unconditional and all-consuming love and tells the powerful story of relentless love and perseverance as a young couple’s relationship clashes with the harsh realities of the California Gold Rush of 1850.
The film is locally distributed by Filmfinity Pty (Ltd.) and will be released in South African cinemas on 21 January 2022.
Watch the trailer here: