Critics Consensus: Joshua is well-intentioned, but too heavy-handed.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
A mysterious stranger brings both spiritual comfort and a certain level of distrust to a small community in this drama based on the spiritual best-seller by Joseph Girzone. A mysterious man named Joshua (Tony Goldwyn) arrives in the small Midwestern town of Auburn sometime in the late 19th century. Joshua sets up a carpentry shop in Auburn, and soon develops a reputation for his kind and unselfish nature; after bad weather nearly destroys a church in the town's African-American neighborhood, Joshua offers to help repair the building, and has soon persuaded much of the community to offer their support, including Father Pat (Kurt Fuller), a priest at Auburn's Catholic church. Father Pat's superior, Father Tardone (F. Murray Abraham) is also struck by Joshua's talent, charm, and humble desire to help others, and asks him to carve a new statue of Saint Peter for their church. However, while much of the town is following the good example set by Joshua, when people begin to ascribe supernatural powers to the town's new carpenter, Father Tardone begins to become suspicious, and wants to know who Joshua really is and what he really intends to do in Auburn. Joshua features an original song score by popular contemporary Christian musician Michael W. Smith. … More
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Critic Reviews for Joshua
It's a persuasive spiritual journey, sentimental at times but never hopelessly cloying.
Christians sensitive to a reductionist view of their Lord as a luv-spreading Dr. Feelgood or omnipotent slacker will feel vastly more affronted than secularists, who might even praise God for delivering such an instant camp classic.
Overall, it's a very entertaining, thought-provoking film with a simple message: God is love.
The film falls short on tension, eloquence, spiritual challenge -- things that have made the original New Testament stories so compelling for 20 centuries.
The script covers huge, heavy topics in a bland, surfacey way that doesn't offer any insight into why, for instance, good things happen to bad people.
Ultimately, we're left with 90 minutes worth of good intentions and sweet sentiments that never coalesce into an involving story.
What would Jesus do if He was a film director? He'd create a movie better than this.
It's played in the most straight-faced fashion, with little humor to lighten things up. The heavy-handed film is almost laughable as a consequence.
What's refreshing about 'Joshua' is its acknowledgment that a spiritual 'message' can permeate without constant reminders of 'Look alive out there - here comes a Sunday school lesson!'
Not an objectionable or dull film; it merely lacks everything except good intentions.
Any attempts at nuance given by the capable cast is drowned out by director Jon Purdy's sledgehammer sap.
One key problem with these ardently Christian storylines is that there is never any question of how things will turn out.
A well-meaning but flat and awfully simple-minded parable that aims to be uplifting and ends up rather silly.
In its own way, Joshua is as blasphemous and nonsensical as a Luis Bu˝uel film without the latter's attendant intelligence, poetry, passion, and genius.
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