The Gospel

Rated 3.0

A rising young R&B recording star (Boris Kodjoe) returns home—and to his roots—to be near his dying father (Clifton Powell), a minister whose church is being taken down the wrong road by the singer’s former best friend (Idris Elba). Writer-director Rob Hardy earnestly examines the importance of church and gospel music in the African-American community; the script (with its distinct echoes of The Jazz Singer) is more than a little trite, the dialogue is a bit stilted, and the performances are occasionally awkward, but sincerity can sometimes count for a lot, and it does here. Another redeeming virtue (if you’ll pardon the expression) is the music: full-throated, exuberant, infectious expressions of praise that provide Hardy’s movie with heart and soul in abundance. When the singing starts, the movie soars.