Altar Egos stars Robert Amaya as Pastor John, and Erin Bethea as his wife Betsy. Robert Amaya played Javier Martinez, the homeschooling dad in Courageous. Bethea made her feature film debut in the lead role of Catherine Holt in Fireproof.
Also, Victoria Jackson is in this movie. She’s that stand-up comedian who likes to wear bows in her hair. She’s a devout Christian who was involved in the Tea Party movement and appeared on Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s/early 1990s. (Imagine that, a conservative Christian on SNL!)
Our family watched an advance screening of Altar Egos for the purposes of writing this review. The plot basically goes like this…
Pastor John takes over the local church after his father dies. Determined to see the church grow, John does the unthinkable and wants to change the church Christmas pageant that they’ve been doing for 30 years. This inflames Mary, the choir director, and provokes a choir protest. Facing termination and desperate to reunite his church, Pastor John resorts to disguising himself as an old man to bridge the generation gap, win over Mary, and lead the choir back to the church. But when he discovers that there are deeper wounds within his congregation, he must learn to love the unlovable or risk the ruin of his church and family.
I’m sure most church-goers will find something in this movie that they can relate to. Although the characters aren’t very well-developed and they’re more like superficial caricatures, I bet you will see some that you “recognize” from your own church. The movie is realistic in that conflicts within the church can be contentious, and people can be hurtful without realizing it. The truth is, those who hurt others are often feeling hurt themselves. So you’d be wise to be mindful of people’s hidden pain. If you’re not sure what the other person’s problem is, do your best to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Altar Egos is a humorous movie and yet it has a serious message. The title is a clever play on words that has a double meaning. This movie reminds us to treat everyone with kindness, respect, and love. It’s important for people of all ages to try and get along. But the old adage of seeing things through each others’ eyes works both ways. While we need to respect our elders, I think the older members of the congregation should be less stubborn and more open to new ideas, if they want their church to grow and not die out with them.
This family-friendly movie was filmed entirely in Virginia. It was produced by Spirit Fruit, Bridgestone Multimedia, and Liberty University. “For churches going through a conflict now, this movie was made just for you,” says writer/director Sean Morgan at AltarEgosMovie.com. “Altar Egos (and small group study guide) was made to help churches like yours open channels of safe and healthy discussions, to encourage healing, and to unite the family of God.”
Altar Egos is a bit corny, and while it isn’t always the most laugh-out-loud hilarious, there are some scenes that are pretty funny. Admittedly, this movie isn’t a holiday classic that will be on your family’s must-watch list every Christmas. But it’s a decent lighthearted comedy that kids, teens, adults, and grandparents can watch together without embarrassment. It’s especially recommended if anyone in your family is involved in a Christmas play, the church, the theater, or likes “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
Altar Egos will be available on DVD September 5. In the meantime, we will have a giveaway contest opportunity for you starting August 15! Watch this space for details.