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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mr. Church (2016)

A little girl (Natalie Coughlin, who grows into Britt Robertson) lives with her single mother (Natascha McElhone) who is slowly dying of cancer. Into their lives comes a cook (Eddie Murphy) courtesy of her deceased ex-lover whose estate will pay for his services and her medical needs for the six months she's expected to live. But those six months turn into a lifetime for the girl and the mysterious cook. Directed by Bruce Beresford (DRIVING MISS DAISY), this is the kind of movie that quietly sneaks up on you. You think you know where's it's going and for the majority of the time, you're right. But there are enough little surprises that make the journey well worth traveling. Although the film is called MR. CHURCH and Eddie Murphy is top billed, the film's distributor is putting him in the supporting actor category and I have no problem with that because the movie's focus is the character of Charlotte (Coughlin/Robertson). While the critics haven't been kind, audiences (at least those who've managed to see it) have been generous. Reputedly inspired by a "true friendship", the film perpetuates the kindly black man who serves the white family with selfless dedication but it's unfair to pigeonhole the movie like that. Principally because Murphy's excellent performance has so many unspoken layers to it, it's easily his best film work. With Xavier Samuel, Lucy Fry and Christian Madsen.  

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