This word encapsulates my experience in watching the Sound of Freedom, a film on child sex-trafficking. But how?
This topic was safely held in the trusted hands of the award-winning director-actor team Alejandro Gómez Monteverde, Eduardo Verástegui, and Jim Caviezel.
Monteverde and Verástegui have had spiritual-beautiful work in the past. Award-winning Bella (2006) arrived from their newly formed Metanoia Films production company as a “marrow-of-the-bones” story of a soccer star (Verástegui) shattered by tragedy—and redeemed.
In Bella, I found a movie that broke the Hollywood mold in important ways. It wasn’t a romance, but it was about love. It also shows a warm spark as a Latino family first cranks the music, dances a bit, and then feasts.
Little Boy (2015), with a cast including Tom Wilkinson, also was a beauty about a child’s spiritual journey during World War II and the gifts of cross-cultural friendships.
These movies with their fine camera work and acting, their reverent handling of religious themes, and their wisdom in depicting human complexity caught my attention like few other director-actor teams. This is the very team I’d wish for in translating my own novel to screen. I could trust them. They understood.
Sound of Freedom is no different. It’s artful and beautiful—this fierce-tender film about children kidnapped into sex-trafficking and those who fight against it. Set in California and Colombia, we follow the rescue efforts of agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel).
Of course I worried beforehand. Wouldn’t a film about sex-trafficking children be too much? No. In fact, the brilliance of the film and its director is this: Sound of Freedom isn’t a heart-crushing film, but an invitation to a lament. It opened my heart and enlarged it. We can sorrow over this horrific trend and act. That’s why I recommend it—and because “God’s children aren’t for sale.”
Yes, plenty of drama surrounds this movie. As its credits roll, Caviezel tells viewers how this movie hit “every obstacle” possible. It was supposed to be released five years ago, but had been shelved by 20th Century/Disney.
And controversy surrounds Tim Ballard, the real-life director of Operation Underground Railroad, whom Caviezel plays. Might the concerns be legitimate? They might be. Might they be the inevitable misinformation around someone against sex-trafficking? They might be. Even Caviezel clarifies: This movie isn’t about Tim Ballard, he says. The movie’s about the children. To let this film sink, mired in distractions, would be a shame.