All Saints Book vs Movie: Review

All Saints movie

**Thanks Bethany House for a review copy of All Saints

You may remember that I posted a few weeks ago about a movie coming out called All Saints. At the time I posted, I hadn’t heard of the movie and didn’t really know anything about it. But after watching the trailer, I was hooked.

Basically, the story is about a small Episcopal church in Tennessee that is slated for closure due to declining membership and an inability to pay its bills. In the midst of this, some Burmese refugees turn up at a church service. Eventually, they ask if they can use some of the fields around the church to raise food to eat. The church pastor and members end up befriending and working together with the Burmese, and all ends up well.

When I had the opportunity to read the book, I was eager to do that as well. Over Labor Day, I saw the movie. So here are my thoughts on both.

Movie Vs Book

This is a rare instance where I feel like the movie was better than the book. The movie was filmed well, with great visual images that are understandably difficult to do with a book. The movie also had a nice story arc (which admittedly may not be totally true-to-life, but it does make you feel good to watch). There was Forest, the ornery old man who started out anti-everything and ended up the church’s biggest supporter. There were the attractive pastor and his family who solved all problems within the film’s under-two-hour time frame.

The book gives much more detail on all aspects of the story. You’ll learn quite a bit of detail on the lives of the Burmese before they reached the US. And since this is a culture most of us have little knowledge of, it can be difficult to follow. You’ll also learn more about the background of the Spurlocks — the pastor’s family. They have a member who wasn’t even shown in the film, along with various other bits of history that make them more complex, and more interesting, people.

I think the biggest issue I had with the book was that the writing was rather clunky: “Not wanting such a life for their daughter’s childhood,” etc. It felt to me as if once a movie was in the works, someone decided that it would be a good idea to have a book too, so all the data for the movie was kind of dumped here. The book features very little dialogue, and reads sort of like a super-long Wikipedia article. The movie and book even feature the exact same artwork on the covers/posters.

So, if All Saints is still at a theater in your area, I would recommend seeing it. And I’d go fast, because it’s already gone from the theater in my town. If you can’t see the film, the book is still a story worth reading. I think it will encourage you in your faith.


3 thoughts on “All Saints Book vs Movie: Review

  1. This sounds like a movie I would enjoy rather reading the book. Usually I like the book better. Every week our church shows a Christian movie in the multi-purpose room. Great for the young people to watch with their family. Plus there is free popcorn!

  2. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy either the movie or the book. I hope to watch it when it comes out on dvd. Since we work with Burmese people, I’m sure I would find either the book or the movie to be interesting.

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