A Review of ‘Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot’ – Saving young lives while brightening yours

An African American lady and her pastor husband strive to give endangered children the ultimate gift.

Jun 19, 2024 - 23:22
A Review of ‘Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot’ – Saving young lives while brightening yours

‘Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot’ – Saving young lives while brightening yours

Cast: Nika King, Demetrius Grosse, Elizabeth Mitchell, Diaana Babnicova, Jillian Reeves, Kaysi J. Bradley, Della Golden, Aria Pulliam, Asher Liam Clay, Taj Johnson, Rose Person, Jacinte Blackenship, Demian Castro, Lisha Wheeler, Roscoe Johnson, Sandra Jarrett, Rena Canady-Laster, Joshua Weigel, Dayna Beilenson, Jayden Tolbert, Sarah Hudson

Critic’s Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Director: Joshua Weigel 

Duration: 2 hours 9 minutes

Genre: Drama, Biopic

Language: English

Release: 2024

What’s it about? 

An African American lady and her pastor husband strive to give endangered children the ultimate gift.

Review:

Here is one of those rare films that is an affirmation and celebration of the human spirit. And what’s more, it’s based on a true story. The central theme to this inspiring little tale, which unfolds in the small town of Possum Trot in East Texas, is foster care and adoption. Can one who is raised in a large family and experiences first-hand what caring and sharing is all about, dispense those skills upon those who have not been blessed with a stable early life? Plus, what role does religion and faith play in goading one toward filling gaping voids in a troubled community?

Told from the point of view of Mrs. Donna Martin (Nika King), Sound of Hope is guaranteed to echo and reverberate through hearts everywhere. The narrative begins with the African American lady fondly recalling her childhood when “you will shine with something you will never have again” and where she has seen “the heights and depths” and “virtue won and virtue lost”. Donna feels blessed to belong to a large, close-nit and thriving family and is naturally devastated when her exemplary mother Murtha Cartwright (Della Golden), passes on. But Donna has a system of solace and support in “W.C.” Martin (Demetrius Grosse), a Baptist pastor, whom she goes on to marry, and with whom, she has a biological pigeon pair – Princeton (Taj Johnson) and Ladonna (Kaysi J. Bradley). 

However, despite struggling at juggling the responsibilities of running a house and caring for the special needs child Princeton, Donna feels the need to carry forward the legacy of her late Mom. She attends a presentation by Susan Ramsey (Elizabeth Mitchell) from a local child foster agency who exposes the horrors of domestic abuse that some of the town’s youngest residents are subject to. Indeed, these unfortunate souls have to bear the scourge of poverty or wayward parents. Suddenly a light goes on and Donna decides (against the protests of W.C.) to adopt two toddlers (Aria Pulliam Asher Liam Clay). 

Initially reluctant to have an enlarged family, Pastor W.C. warms to the idea. He even uses his position at Bennett Chapel to stir parishioners into taking other endangered children under their wing. But the new additions to these families result in considerable challenges and the Martins, like other couples, realise that the scenario is not all peaches and cream. Will they have to pull their own weight or will financial assistance come from their Caucasian brothers in the Lord? And what about the overburdened Department of Protective and Regulatory Services? Where does it fit in this quagmire?

Will the Pastor’s penchant for delivering impassioned sermons prove effective enough for the church-goers to weather the storm? Or will the latter turn away disillusioned? Matters come to a head when the Martin’s take in the severely traumatised adolescent Terri (Diaana Babnicova), who is so mentally scarred that she often behaves peculiarly. Will her flustered foster parents be able to draw her out of this tarnished mental state? And at what cost? What is the right combination of tough love and tender care? The parental couple have their backs to the wall since they are obliged to set an example to the whole community by keeping Terri under their roof.

Powerful scenes with realistic dialogue and robust acting are intertwined with Donna’s articulate and passionate voice-over, which enrich the quality of the narrative. The cinematography of rural Texas and the subdued but effective music add to the splendour of this moving celluloid experience. At a time when most people are sceptical about religion, here is a film which demonstrates the power of devout gatherings and how they can help solve social issues. However, the generous amount of sentimentality and emphasis on Christianity may put off some viewers, although the message conveyed is universal. The protracted epilogue proves how unconditional love and guidance can go a long way. You will be all ears to this Sound of Hope.

Ronak Kotecha Senior Journalist and seasoned content creator with 18-years-experience at channels like Times Now, NewsX, Zoom and Radio City. Now, Rotten Tomatoes accredited global critic for the Times of India and BBC India Correspondent in Dubai. Talk show host at Talk100.3, tune in weekdays at 11 am on talk1003.ae