Movie Review: Jesus Revolution

“Jesus Revolution” film was released February 2023 and highlights the religious movement of the 1970’s in southern California //

Sophie Echternach | News Editor

March 10, 2023

While it may be known as the decade of bell bottoms and disco, the 1970’s brought much more than just that. It brought the “Jesus Freaks.”  The new movie, released February 23, 2023,  “Jesus Revolution” highlights the real life religious movement throughout Southern California during the 1970’s and how the previously called “Jesus Freaks” came to be recognized as more than just radical hippies.

The movie begins with a scene of pastor Chuck Smith, Kelsey Grammer, and his family as he leads his rather small congregation in a traditional, and boring looking, church service. As it becomes known to the viewer that Chuck’s church is suffering, his daughter, a fellow “hippie,” encourages him to invite Lonnie Frisbee, Jonathan Roumie, a hippie spreading knowledge about Jesus, into his church in order to bring more people in. Chuck immediately writes off Lonnie and his “radical” beliefs however, after some time their interactions turn less hostile and Chuck begins to see Lonnie’s mutual love of Jesus wanting to better people’s lives and give them a place to belong.

The story of Lonnie Frisbee bringing his hippie friends and “Jesus Freaks” into Chuck Smith’s formerly traditional church intertwines with the love story of Greg Laurie, Joel Courtney, and Cathe, Anna Grace Barlow, as they transform their hippie lives from drugs and hallucination, to Jesus and helping others. 

Published in June of 1971, “Time Magazine” featured the real life “Jesus Revolution” //

“Jesus Revolution” takes place in Newport Beach California, where it actually took place over 50 years ago. Characters such as Greg and Cathe can be seen attending well-known Newport Harbor High and taking place in baptisms at Pirate’s Cove Beach in Newport. 

“I thought the movie was really well made because they didn’t make it too preachy but rather a really good historical movie about events that happened locally. It was also really cool to see the fashion from the 70’s and the different locations,” said freshman SCHS Ava Echternach.

The film features more than just stories of redemption and church service. Viewers can see the struggles different characters endure from Greg’s addicted mother, Cathe’s struggle with her father’s wishes, or Lonnie and Chuck’s misunderstandings of one another. However, these real life struggles and stories of unity and redemption were important enough to catch the attention of Time magazine and the real “Jesus Revolution” was the front cover in June of 1971.

It doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not, this movie is a must see simply for the amazing cinematography, well-thought storytelling, and beautiful representation of how love brought a group of divided people together all those years ago.

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