All Saints

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
All Saints Movie Poster Image
Faith-based drama has pro-refugee message.
  • PG
  • 2017
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

Not yet rated

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Promotes teamwork, compassion, and empathy. Also encourages seeing that cultural differences shouldn't be a boundary to friendship and fellowship. Because it's based on the story of a priest and his congregation, there's a strong message about the importance and power of faith and community.

Positive role models & representations

Rev. Michael is dedicated to his congregation and believes that God has sent him -- and the Karen refugees -- to All Saints for a purpose. Ye Win does a ton for his community -- answering questions, handling funds, interceding with government agencies, etc. -- and is deeply devoted to the church. Aimee and Atticus love the new town and their new friends. The bishop is initially resistant to Michael's idea but eventually sees how the church has grown and is meeting the needs of its congregation.

Violence & scariness

A police officer strikes Rev. Michael as he defends a Karen mother who's frightened of the police taking her son. References to the war and strife the Karen lived through (including torture, rape, murder, etc.) before fleeing their turbulent homeland. Mention of an American soldier's heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Photo of a man with a rifle.

Sexy stuff

A married couple kisses and embraces.


"Shut your pie hole." "Were you this cowardly in Vietnam?" "Sucks."

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Photo of a man with a cigarette; one man has a cigarette behind his ear.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All Saints is a faith-based drama inspired by a true story of an Episcopalian priest (John Corbett) who saves a struggling congregation with the help of a group of refugees from Myanmar. There's little iffy content in the movie, except for one scene in which a police officer strikes a pastor who's trying to keep a misunderstanding from getting out of control. And there are a couple of conversations in which refugees briefly describe the harrowing conditions they endured (torture, rape, murder, isolation). Language is tame and limited to "sucks," and insults like "shut your pie hole." Viewers of faith will appreciate the movie's messages about trusting in God, helping brothers and sisters in Christ, and so forth, and all audiences will spark to the story's themes of teamwork, friendship, and generosity.

User Reviews

Adult Written byYvonne B. September 24, 2017

A True Story

I really enjoyed the movie, a little tearful at times. The theme of faith, trust, believing, and forgiving is threaded throughout this movie. This pastor app... Continue reading
Adult Written byQuietDan September 17, 2017

The Karen are still at All Saints

Ten years after the events in the movie, the Karen are still at All Saints, and they are thriving: Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

ALL SAINTS is based on the true story of how a new Episcopalian priest and a group of refugees from Myanmar helped save a struggling country church in rural Tennessee. Salesman-turned-Episcopalian priest Michael Spurlock (John Corbett) is assigned his first lead priesthood at All Saints Episcopal in Smyrna, Tennessee -- a small country congregation that the diocese plans to shut down and sell, since there are only a dozen regular parishioners (and not enough offerings to support the expensive mortgage). As Spurlock; his wife, Aimee (Cara Buono); and preteen son, Atticus (Myles Moore) struggle with the news that they're shepherding a church that's destined to close, the congregation gets an unexpected influx of members in the form of a tight-knit group of Anglican Karen refugees from Myanmar (Burma) -- most of whom were farmers back in their homeland. Michael and Ye Win (Nelson Lee), the leader of the Karen community, join forces to try to save All Saints (and help feed the Karen families) by turning the land the church owns into a working farm. But the Episcopal council gives the church only one season to prove that their experiment is profitable.

Is it any good?

This faith-based drama might seem like another example of a "white savior" narrative, but it ultimately shows how the refugees, not just the pastor, save the day through dedication and hard work. Although All Saints changed a few of the original story's details (Spurlock was in publishing before becoming a priest, not a salesman; the couple had a younger daughter; etc.), the main events seem true to life. And director Steve Gomer (a veteran TV director) even uses the real Karen churchgoers to play their on-screen counterparts (with the exception of Lee, who is a famous Taiwanese actor-director-producer). This is definitely a sentimental, feel-good movie that could easily be a Lifetime/Hallmark presentation, except it's a bit short on romance for those networks. As in most religious films, there's an overriding message about the power of faith, prayer, and God.

Northern Exposure fans will be thrilled to see Corbett reunite with Barry Corbin, who (once again) plays a curmudgeon with a secret heart of gold: Forrest, one of the church's few remaining congregants. Forrest is critical of Rev. Michael's plan and believes it will be too hard on the Karen families. As on their old show, Corbett and Corbin's characters butt heads, but they eventually grow fond of each other. Forrest bonds with Ye Win over their shared memories of wars they've faced, and in some ways their friendship comes off as more believably close than Rev. Michael's with either man. Considering the current political/social climate regarding issues related to refugees from non-Western backgrounds, it's inspiring to see a true story about the power of intercultural friendship and teamwork.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how All Saints' story conveys the importance of compassion, perseverance, and teamwork. Why are these important character strengths?

  • How do the movie's messages about refugees relate to the United States' frequently contentious political/social debate about immigrants and refugees?

  • Although it doesn't have a lot of iffy content, do you think this movie is appropriate for younger kids? What might elementary school or middle school audiences learn from the movie?

  • How accurate do you think All Saints is? Why might filmmakers choose to change some details in a movie that's based on a true story?

  • Talk about the appeal of faith-based films. Do you think only families/viewers who embrace these movies' faith-based messages will appreciate them? Why or why not?

Movie details

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