A new story about an old saint: St. Francis of Assisi – the first Ragamuffin. This is the third and final movie in “The Ragamuffin Trilogy.” First was “Ragamuffin” about Rich Mullins. Then “Brennan” about the author Brennan Manning.
This film does a remarkable job in showing what truly makes a person free. It opens with the history of St. Francis of Assisi, who chose a life of poverty and servitude—in order to follow Christ. His life was amazingly changed and the life he lived and his writings are exemplary to this day. He heard Christ calling him and tells others, “The only father I have is my Father in heaven.” The former sinner followed the One Who sets men free. “I die that Christ might live,” he says, and he adds, “I’m God’s fool.” But would there be other fools for God, following in his footsteps? Some religious leaders hated him. But would there be others willing to live in poverty that they might lead others to the riches of Christ?
One of the points made in this film is that a person doesn’t have to be well educated or eloquent in order to be a disciple of the Lord. Before the movie shifts to today’s world, St. Francis of Assisi has visited the pope. Although some consider Francis a lunatic or a fool, the pope believes St. Francis’s faith “might inspire others. He inspired me,” he says. Indeed, before he dies, St. Francis wishes he had more time to save some lepers. “Death is my sister,” he says. “This is what we committed our lives to.”
As the film shifts to modern day New York City, a man named Frank is having a dream. He says, “My God, there has to be more.” The reply comes, “There is more, much more.”
Frank is the son and heir to the Bernadone fortune, a business which has made a ton of money. In fact, Frank’s father owns a garage of the most expensive cars in the world. His dad expects Frank to take over the family fortune. However, God has other plans for Frank.
Portrayed by a likeable actor named Craig Lamar Brown, Frank meets a Franciscan priest named Richard. Richard is also played by an actor who is terrific in his role, David Leo Schultz, who also wrote and directed the film. Richard sees potential in Frank as well as recognizes a call placed on his life by God. However, the pull of others in his life will make it a challenge. Frank is engaged to a beautiful woman named Jackie, who loves the fact that Frank is going to soon lead his family’s business. At a party with Frank, she comments that many of the men there “got hammered (drunk) and slept with super models.” Frank drinks a lot and shows up at a party inebriated. In a comedic scene, he attends church the next morning and the music and praise is loud and lively. The minister shouts that “God is good!” Frank slumps down in his pew, with a hangover, and mutters, “Yes, God is good, but do we have to be so loud about it?!” Interestingly, the priest, Richard, speaks that morning at the protestant church and soon Frank and Richard connect. Frank likes what he sees in Richard and in fact opens up and shares his dream about searching “for more” in this life.
Frank visits a home with developmentally challenged people and he is touched by their child-like behavior. He also encounters homeless people and helps them out. The changes in him upset the protestant church pastor and Frank’s father. Frank clashes with his dad, who believes the best way to help people is to “be rich.” This goes against what the priest, Richard, has been teaching him, about denying one’s self and following Christ.
When Frank’s dad offers him the keys to his fantastic car collection, he hammers Frank to focus on the business. Frank goes back to his old ways for a time, drinking and thinking in terms of money. But the image of the man on the cross crying out to him that “there is more” continues to haunt him. When Frank speaks with Richard again, and sees the homeless on the street, placed there due to his father and the protestant pastor, he decides enough is enough and he stands up to his father. We won’t tell how it all ends, but this is a nicely directed story which is not only worth the telling but worth the watching! Due to several drinking scenes and a few comments, we are awarding the film our Dove-approved seal for Ages 12+. The story the movie tells is truly amazing.
The Dove Take:
Here is a movie that nicely illustrates that God’s grace is amazing.