Free In Deed ★★★

While Free In Deed outwardly presents itself as a look at the functioning of a struggling storefront church, I found its most powerful segments to be those that depict a desperate single mother's exasperation about dealing with her special needs child. Edwina Findley is excellent as the mother and the child performers playing her children are arguably even more convincing. The scenes set in her home are more intense and moving that those set in the church, which are at once galvanizing in the manner of Duvall's The Apostle and cumulatively repetitive. Spiritual crises take a backseat to systemic ones here. Still there's little denying that this is an uncommonly potent, serious and well-shot drama from writer/director Jake Mahaffy.

58/100

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