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Ordinary Angels (PG) ★★★½

By March 10, 2024March 23rd, 2024Backstage Pass

Set in 1993, with flashbacks, Ed (Alan Ritchson), a hard-working roofer’s treasured wife, Theresa (Amy Acker), has died of a congenital liver disease, biliary atresia, which their youngest daughter Michelle (Emily Mitchell) also has; she’s in desperate need of a lung transplant. Her medical bills keep adding up, and her condition worsens. Sharon Stevens (Hillary Swank) is fictionally written as a repenting alcoholic with an estranged grown son.

Sharon, a hairdresser, is eager to change her drunken ways and find something more significant than herself to focus on and give up all her drinking. Living in St. Louis, she hears of a man who needs help with his medical bills and helps to find a liver transplant for his daughter. She immediately swings into action. There is so much to champion in the film, although for myself, viewing Swank in a vital female role, one who is a mover and shaker, thinks outside the box, with endless determination, is precisely the kind of woman role model that filmmakers should be looking to highlight. Not to mention the fact that seasoned actor Hilary Swank is incredible in the role of a sassy do-getter—she’s convincing and authentic, which are key critical elements in believability as an actor.

Sharon finds her purpose in helping Alan with his bills. However, he rebuffs her from the beginning. She’s the type that doesn’t say no, including her craving for ‘the drink’ in her past. Eventually, she becomes their lifeline, starting a fundraiser and crusading for financial breaks, corporate donations, media awareness, and helping Ed find more work as a roofer. The story serves as an example of how to help people with dire situations they can’t handle alone. The filmmakers display sincere intentions, not preachy, and it’s a beautiful public service announcement for organ donors.

Swank’s prior roles have prepared her for metamorphosing into literally a force of nature—she’s nonstop in her quest to save this child. Watching this damaged woman’s journey is inspiring as she doesn’t give up and restores her faith in herself and her community. Director Jon Gunn allows Shank to shine, directing her in all the right ways, yes, she digs deep within her acting abilities, and we are the benefactors.

“Ordinary Angels” is playing now in theaters, and I suggest you bring Kleenex, yup, it’s a tearjerker, in a good way.

Cast: Hilary Swank, Alan Ritchson, Nancy Travis, Tamala Jones, Emily Mitchell and Skywalker Hughes

Director: Jon Gunn

Run Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Sarah Knight Adamson©  March 10, 2024