Southern Gospel, The Movie – in Theaters March 10

Southern Gospel

SOUTHERN GOSPEL is the story of a man overcoming brokenness and never surrendering his dream on a journey to find the gospel… the Southern Gospel.

The movie stars four-time Emmy nominee Max Ehrich (“The Young and the Restless”), Katelyn Nacon (“The Walking Dead”), Emma Myer (Netflix’s “Wednesday”), J. Alphonse Nicholson (“Just Mercy”), and Justice Leak (“The Staircase”).

SOUTHERN GOSPEL is coming to theaters nationwide beginning March 10, 2023!


This movie is based on the true story of director Jeffrey A. Smith’s parents. In an interview, he said: “There are over 115,000 churches in America and every one of them has a story. This is my parents’ story and it shows a grittier, more visceral look at the road to starting a church than we would typically imagine. It shows a pretty accurate depiction of the churches I grew up in. The culture and the music in the film reveal a unique piece of Americana that set the backdrop for the film.”


There’s a lot of Southern Gospel music in this movie. You can hear some of your favorite classic hymns as well as ten original songs composed by the director, Jeffrey A. Smith. (He was an accomplished recording artist before becoming a movie director!) My two favorites of his are “You Still Love Me” and “Preacher Man of Rock and Roll.” Traditional gospel songs include “I’ll Fly Away,” “I Surrender All,” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” This is one movie that you will want to get the soundtrack for if you like bluegrass, country, or gospel music.

Actors Max Ehrich (Samuel) and Katelyn Nacon (Julie) are great singers! They each perform songs throughout the movie, both together and solo. As a boy, Sam is torn between being a preacher and a rock star. Julie loves to sing on stage every chance she gets. To her, music is freedom from a harsh home life. The story starts out in the early 1960’s when some church people thought rock and roll music was of the devil. However, the music was less a focus of the plot than I had expected given the title.


Samuel grows up with a single dad who is a pastor. (His mom died when he was a young child). As a boy, Sam wants to become a preacher like his dad. But fast forward to when he is a teenager, there is a tragedy in his life and he finds it hard to cope. His anger issues and disillusionment with organized religion lead him down a road of rebellion. He gets involved in the hippie rock and drug scene. Suddenly one day he finds himself in jail.

The judge dismisses the drug charges against him under the pretense that Sam speaks to local schools and churches about the dangers of drugs. Forced to reevaluate his life, Sam gets baptized and decides to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a pastor. The road isn’t easy, however. He has to fight against his past demons while overcoming the influence of a powerful church leader with a personal vendetta against his family.

In the beginning, the movie was a bit random and hard to follow, but soon it had developed into a very compelling storyline. It’s a unique and amazing story, full of twists and turns, ups and downs – and then just when you think things can’t get any worse… they do. A few scenes are quite shocking! But it shows that no matter what life throws at us, we can trust in God’s faithfulness. SOUTHERN GOSPEL will inspire and encourage audiences across the country to never surrender their dreams.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” –Galatians 6:9


SOUTHERN GOSPEL shows the powerful love between a dad and his son. It takes a strong stance against legalism in the church. It’s a great story about overcoming brokenness. Another theme is forgiveness – asking forgiveness from others, as well as forgiving those who have wronged you. Samuel never stopped believing that everyone deserves a second chance. He took a stand for those who need God’s grace in their life. I love this quote from the movie where Sam, the born-again protagonist, tells his holier-than-thou nemesis: “It’s sad. You’ve completely memorized it [The Bible] but you don’t understand it.” How true! The Bible is the Word which is God. You cannot truly understand the Bible if you don’t have a relationship with Him.


SOUTHERN GOSPEL has something for everyone – drama, romance, action, redemption, and toe-tapping music! Although this is a faith-based film, it’s not for the whole family. Young children won’t find it interesting, plus it’s rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, drug use, some violent content, suicide, and language. The movie tells a grittier story than we often see in faith-based films, but that’s what makes it so real and compelling. Life isn’t always a bed of roses, and many Christians have experienced trauma and tragedy in their own lives.

The acting in this movie is great. I love the southern accents! My favorite character is actually the bad guy, awesomely played by Justice Leak, especially how he redeems himself at the end. I also enjoyed the nostalgia of the ’60s and ’70s cars and clothes. (SOUTHERN GOSPEL would be a great double feature with Jesus Revolution.) Would I watch this movie again? Yes, I would… and I already did!

Buy tickets today to see SOUTHERN GOSPEL exclusively in theaters March 10!

For more information, visit the SOUTHERN GOSPEL website.

Buy tickets to see SOUTHERN GOSPEL in theaters here.



Now for a giveaway! The sponsors are giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky Homeschooling Teen reader. Simply leave a comment saying what you like about this review of SOUTHERN GOSPEL. (Comments are moderated so please be patient as it may take yours a while to show up.) Be sure to include your full name and email address. A random winner will be chosen and notified by 3/15/23. The giveaway is only available to those who live in the U.S. And you can only win one Amazon gift card, so if you win one on another blog you cannot win here. The sponsor is responsible for mailing out prizes.

Disclosure: Many thanks to BMG for providing a sample of the product (an online screener) for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

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Add a Comment
  1. What I like about this review is that it really gives me a picture of the movie and I know that this is one I would love to see with my family. I love that this movie is family friendly and faith based that is so so important to me.

  2. I like that it is a faith based film that is NOT for children but rather more geared towards a little bit of an older crowd (PG-13) as the themes and situations are more interesting and as you put it, ‘gritty.’

    soapstarr01 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. I like the central theme of forgiveness and find the synopsis to be very intriguing.

    1. Congratulations to JR, winner of our Southern Gospel $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

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