SOMMERSBY

I had seen the film before but had no notion of reviewing it for Your Take. When I saw the commercial for the Easter showing on NBC, I recalled the Scriptural parallels and remembered that it really is an Easter movie--my only task was to piece it together for you.

Sommersby stars Jodie Foster and Richard Gere, and is about a southern landowner, John Robert (Jack) Sommersby, returning home to his small town after the Civil War, and after having long been thought dead. But as it turns out Sommersby is not Sommersby. He is actually an acquaintance (Horace Townsend) who had spent four years in a jail cell with Sommersby during the war and traveled with him after the war. During their time together, Horace Townsend heard Sommersby describe his home town and townspeople, the land he owned, his wife and family; and he knows them as if they were his own. Hearing of the joyous and plenteous life enjoyed by Sommersby obviously made him desire so rich a life for himself. So when the real Sommersby died after being away for so long a time that even those who knew him best would be hard pressed to identify his imposter, Horace Townsend assumed the identity. He took his home, his land, and his wife--he took everything but Sommersby's character.  And because he did not take Sommersby s character, this Sommersby is loved, by his wife, his son and the townspeople--all of whom remembered the real Sommersby as far less than delightful. In this new life as Sommersby, Horace Townsend is respected as a good father and husband and a benevolent leader. As Sommersby, he deeds parcels of his large land holdings to the townspeople that they all might work and prosper together; and he does as much hard fieldwork as any of the others. So when law men arrive with a warrant for the arrest of John Robert Sommersby for the crime of murder, the townspeople can not believe that such an act had been committed by the man they now know as Sommersby.

At his trial, when it becomes clear that he will be set free as Horace Townsend but executed as Jack Sommersby, there are those who have had reservations that this man might not be Sommersby. His wife wants to continue life with the new Sommersby and encourages him to acknowledge that he is Horace Townsend and be set free. The townspeople continue to suppress the obvious signs. But not only does Horace Townsend like his new life as Sommersby, he detests his old life as Horace Townsend--the philanderer, the coward, the racist, the con artist, the thief. He is neither the old Sommersby, nor the old Townsend. And to end the pleading he declares to his wife he would rather die than be " . . .Horace Townsend again."

The townspeople who have recently become landowners and partakers in the fruit of their own labor (including former slaves) are allowed to continue working for their own benefit; and Horace Townsend maintains the good name of Jack Sommersby.

In the case of Christ, we are allowed to continue in His name and be made good by it. In the 10th Chapter of The Book of John, Jesus declares; {10} The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. This abundant life required Christ's death.   

Well, that's my take on what was run as an Easter movie on NBC. But perhaps you saw it differently or you've seen some other film that profits from Scripture without the acknowledgement. Or maybe you disagree with my take on this movie. No problem!  You can purchase this movie at 90X29-w-logo.gif (1557 bytes) for your continued review.