Mr. Church (Drama) (2016)
Director: Bruce Beresford
Writer: Susan McMartin
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Britt Robertson, Natascha McElhone, Natalie Coughlin
After Marie’s (Natascha McElhone) ex-lover passes away the household of Charlie (Britt Robertson/Natalie Coughlin) is greeted by the duties of Mr. Church (Eddie Murphy), a cook that has been given the order to care for Marie and Charlie until Marie’s inevitable demise due to breast cancer. Richard, the ex-lover, has stated Mr. Church will cook for them until Marie passes away in his will.
Mr. Church is one of those heart-warming kinds of movies; it’s sweet and sad throughout. Even though it’s marketed as a drama/comedy the latter, I cannot detect, Its better to describe it as a light drama. What I mean by that is the fact that it isn’t exceptionally emotionally charged and doesn’t play into the clichés we often see in drama’s. Story-wise it is well set up; few movies genuinely understand what makes character development great, which is sad because it’s such a vital aspect to any good film in any genre.
The unease and eventual coming together of Mr. Church and teenager Charlie is humorous yet emotional as she is not as informed about her mother’s health. Throughout the days that Mr. Church is with her and her mother, she learns to appreciate what she was indifferent to, the relationship between these two characters is quite well done.
The thing that makes it so unique is, first and foremost the fantastic performance by Eddie Murphy as Mr. Church, once again he shines in a role not regularly assigned to him as we know him as a comedy actor, but yet again he proves that he’s just a stellar actor in most roles he plays. I don’t want to down-play the roles of the other actors as they performed fitting roles with a passion that makes their characters utterly convincing.
Back to the story development, which I applaud, there are still some rough edges to this diamond. As the story develops, it feels like some of the aforementioned character development is hastened a bit too much as Charlie gets over her dislike of Mr. Church pretty fast. One scene she’s complaining to her friend at school the other she’s asking to borrow one of Mr. Churches books, okay it’s a bit more developed than I state right here, but still, it feels like a sudden change with only one or two scenes developing to this critical childhood friendship. These sudden developments happen a couple of times throughout the film, and it’s a blemish on an otherwise fantastic movie.
Character development, story-telling, and a fitting setting make it feel like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces magically fitting into place. Even though there are some stuck under the couch.