The Gospel (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Gospel (2005)



Critic Consensus: While it features outstanding musical numbers, The Gospel reduces a series of worthy themes -- faith, family, forgiveness -- to soapy, banal clichés.

Movie Info

Close friends become unexpected rivals as they struggle to keep their spiritual home alive in this musical drama from writer and director Rob Hardy. David (Michael J. Pagan) and Frank (Sean Nelson) are two close friends who are members of the same Baptist church in Atlanta. The teenagers have developed a deep and abiding faith in Christ, and both aspire to become ministers some day; David, who has also become a star vocalist with the choir, is thought to have a head start since his father is the congregation's pastor, Bishop Taylor (Clifton Powell). However, David's faith is shaken when his mother dies while giving birth to another child, and when Bishop Taylor fails to arrive at the hospital in time, David runs away from home, turning his back on his father and his church. Fifteen years later, aging Bishop Taylor has announced he's retiring, and Frank (Idris Elba), now a reverend, seems poised to take his place. However, the church is in dire financial shape, and no one is sure how long Rev. Frank's flock will have a church to call home. Meanwhile, David (Boris Kodjoe) has used his musical talents to become a top-selling R&B singer, and his latest hit record, "Let Me Undress You," suggests he's given up on the faith of his youth. But David has been undergoing a spiritual crisis, and when he learns his father is ailing and the church is in dire shape, he returns to Atlanta in hopes of finding himself and keeping the church afloat. Not everyone regards this as good news, though; Rev. Frank, who sees his position in the church as a stepping stone to bigger things in the gospel music business and establishing a high-profile ministry, is not eager to share the spotlight with David, especially when the prodigal star begins organizing a large-scale fundraiser for the church. The Gospel features musical contributions from a number of leading gospel artists, including Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and Yolanda Adams.more
Rating: PG (for thematic elements including suggestive material, and mild language.)
Genre: Drama, Faith & Spirituality
Directed By:
Written By: William Packer, Rob Hardy
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 3, 2006
Box Office: $15.8M
Screen Gems - Official Site


Boris Kodjoe
as David Taylor
Idris Elba
as Reverend Charles Fra...
Nona Gaye
as Charlene Taylor Fran...
Clifton Powell
as Bishop Fred Taylor
Aloma Wright
as Ernestine
Donnie McClurkin
as Minister Hunter
Tamyra Gray
as Rain Walker
Michael J. Pagan
as Young David
Sean Nelson
as Young Frank
Tony Vaughn
as Bishop Stackhouse
Justin Hires
as Youngster
Leland L. Jones
as Reverend Isaac Winst...
Lauryn McClain
as Youth in Children's ...
Felicia Jeter
as First Lady Winston
Delores Winans
as Janet Perkins
Sierra McClain
as Youth in Children's ...
Nard Holston
as Sandstone
Donna Biscoe
as Reverend Jones
Terrence Gibney
as Physician
Will Packer
as Attendant
Frank Ski
as Marcus
Rashan Ali
as Reporter
Sasha the Diva
as TV Reporter
Geoff McKnight
as James Pelzer, Esq.
Rhoda Griffis
as Lawyer 1
Rob Hardy
as Church Announcer
Vickie Eng
as Doctor
Birice Packer
as Lady in Stairs
Tom Joyner
as Himself
Myra J.
as Herself
Miss Dupree
as Herself
Fred Hammond
as Himself
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Gospel

Critic Reviews for The Gospel

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (17)

When the music isn't pounding in sanctified syncopation, the look and the dialogue of The Gospel are a lot like what you might see and hear on daytime TV.

Full Review… | October 15, 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

The soapy, cliche-ridden script aside, the picture is a technical mess of awkward framing and choppy editing that puts a dispiriting damper on all that uplifting music.

October 15, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

It's a rich portrait of a church in transition.

Full Review… | October 12, 2005
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

I loved the music and I admired its good intentions. But there are just too many sub-professional touches for me to recommend the film.

Full Review… | October 11, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Voices soar in The Gospel, but the story drags.

Full Review… | October 7, 2005
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

So doggedly positive that it amounts to a glossy version of a Sunday-school instructional film.

October 7, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Gospel


A good all around movie, About a Rap singer coming home to help his fathers church, meets a beautiful girl and changes his ways, for the girl or for the lord????? you decided. Put it in the collection

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

The only thing about this movie that is even remotely interesting is the music, and even that is nothing I haven't seen before. This is every other "preacher's kid gone astray" movie that's ever been made with almost zero variations from the formula. I made it through about an hour and 15 minutes, but I just could not do it any more. I was so bored.

very awesome and inspiring and moving movie. PSALM 92:1- It is good to praise your name Lord and make music to your name, O most High.

Steve Heiser

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