New Film Respects Christianity

Renee Zellweger and Siobhan Fallon Hogan (right) in 'New in Town.'
Renee Zellweger and Siobhan Fallon Hogan (right) in 'New in Town.' (photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.)

Last night my wife and I rubbed shoulders with Catholic movie stars Harry Connick, Jr. and Siobhan Fallon Hogan at the premiere of their film “New in Town.”

The film, which opens this Friday, is a romantic comedy set in New Ulm, Minn.  Watching the premiere at the Mall of America, both my wife and I were pleasantly surprised by the respectful tone in which the movie portrayed one of the key characters, Blanche Gunderson (played by Hogan), a Christian who wears her crucifix and isn’t afraid to bring up the name of Jesus in casual conversation.

In the movie, Gunderson mentions God at least once and Jesus at least three times. The film also features the townsfolk of New Ulm processing with candles to the city’s Christmas tree, singing a popular Christmas carol. All in all, it’s a rarity to find the faith portrayed in a positive light in film, so we found it refreshing.

When I interviewed Hogan for the Register, she told me that it was an easy character to play because she has a similar perspective on faith. She’s a devout Catholic who considers the moral repercussions of the roles she plays. For Siobhan, who has appeared in films such as “Holes,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “Forrest Gump,” it’s a breakout role. In many ways, she dominates the film and adds much of its humor.

The film is a cute PG-rated comedy. Some foul language, suggestive humor, and one scene of suggested intimacy probably makes it off-limits for younger children, but overall the movie presents a somewhat realistic romantic comedy that exaggerates and pokes a bit of fun at small-town Minnesotans and our winter weather. Those looking for a relatively clean movie to watch with their significant other will find a lot to like in this heartwarming film.

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