EMANUEL is a documentary by executive producers Stephen Curry and Viola Davis
Emanuel made a limited appearance (in June 2019, on the fourth anniversary of the highlighted event) but based on the reviews I’ve read and the reaction of those who’ve seen it, it will certainly be streaming on some device or app soon. This is more than a must-see for everyone teenager+, it’s a story that deserves to be pondered and discussed within the church, outside the church, crossing community and cultural divides.
Few, if any, visits to a movie theater have affected me so vehemently as EMANUEL, which marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic slaying of nine people inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As credits finished rolling and lights came up no one spoke or moved. Emotions felt thick. I think it’s because the story was so much more than any of us expected.
It was not just about the senseless murder, the subsequent arrest, judicial proceedings, and public outcry which we all witnessed via various news media. This documentary chronicled Charleston’s historical, cultural and economic role since the beginning of slave trade through present day events. Pure evil juxtaposed with truth and forgiveness.
These were not actors; these were not re-enactments. These are the stories that never seemed to make it to media coverage. These are real interviews with survivors and family of survivors. This is their story, their heartbreak, their truth, and for some, their forgiveness. My recollection from four years ago was that the families all forgave the killer and did it rather unanimously. The truth is haunting, thought-provoking and unexpected. The Holy Spirit moves in such unimaginable ways! If the words of the teenage baseball player whose mother was murdered do not bring you to your knees, they will surely bring you to tears. And you will most certainly empathize with those not yet able to forgive.
A week later, and I’m still thinking about it. The parts that made me uncomfortable, those that angered me, shamed me, challenged me. Questions I have; some have answers, some don’t.
It’s a powerful story…. powerful.
See Movie Trailer HERE Sojourner’s Discussion Guide HERE