"Ragamuffins are the unsung assembly of saved sinners who are little in their own sight, conscious of their brokenness... and who cast themselves on His Mercy." ~ Brennan Manning
I can't attest to how true this movie is to Rich Mullins as he was on earth. I know him through his music and his words, not yet in person. (Though Rich is one of the reasons I am so delighted about my Grandmother recently going to heaven. She's there face to face with God Himself, and with Rich Mullins and others like him. How she could not rejoice for all eternity?)
What I can say is that Ragamuffin captured a man of intensity, passion and pain, with the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and a man who kept calling out to a God who heard Him.
I think all that is at the heart of Rich's songs, and it is the heart of this film.
Michael Koch, the actor who plays Rich, did so well. From watching multiple Youtube concert archives, I recognized some of Rich's mannerisms in Michael. While no one can ever duplicate that beautiful "Rich grin" that would flash across his face, Michael did a very fine job.
I love that Rich's songs were treated so respectfully and came across so real.
At several points when Michael was performing, I thought they must have been using real Rich audio.
Elijah, Doubly Good To You, Verge of a Miracle, Awesome God, Hold Me Jesus, We Are Not as Strong, and Be with You are all here, in whole or in part, all sung powerfully and quietly. That truly made this movie a keeper.
You could feel bits of the emotion that Rich may have felt, radiating out of the actor to the viewers, as he gave those words to the world.
Michael also conveys Rich's affection for his Jeep, his affinity for running around barefoot, and his proclivity for stopping mid-concert and shocking everybody with a well timed piece of wisdom so obvious that we'd all managed to miss it.
His epic quote is here, smack in the middle of this film. "Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.”
The holes in his jeans were here too... and the white v-neck T shirt that you see in so many 1990's concerts. And his habit of giving folks the shirt off his back, and of borrowing clothes from other people.
(There's a great story in the Homeless Man interviews where he borrowed one friend's boots, in Ireland, wore them home, to America, and then gave them away!)
They even recreated a "let's make it rain" scene! Again, I've watched him do that on Youtube and it's the coolest thing.
Although I've heard that the section with "Jess" is highly fictionalized, I love that it gave them room to talk about longing and loneliness- two things that permeate his music. It was incredible the first time I heard him talk about how we'll probably always be lonely inside. Early on Jess confesses a frightening inner loneliness, and he takes her hand in his, looks at their joined hands for a moment, and says "Even when you're as close as you can be to another human- even when you're touching- you feel lonely now."
She couldn't say that she didn't.
I also think they brought his honesty and authenticity to life well. At one point a friend asks him if he's "Doing ok" and he says "Not really. I've been drinking again a lot and hating myself for it."
I also once heard someone say "Rich hated to be alone, so he created community everywhere."
He craved the presence of friends. And he was honest about that too. In our disconnected world, we'd be considered some kind of freaky codependent if we admitted how much we needed/wanted people, if we told them how much they really helped us, if we told them how glad we were that they existed and how worried we were that they would stop caring about us and drop out of out lives. Yet wouldn't it make the world a better place if we would say it all?
When he was young, they portray Rich as wanting to feel real, to feel close to God. To feel loved. As he grows, he begins to depend less on feelings, to trust that God's Love wouldn't ever leave.
And that's one certain thing: God loves Rich Mullins.
Rebelling or surrendering~ Sober or drunk~ Sinning or speaking truth~ Modeling fidelity or being honest about wanting to be plain old tempted~ Staying or moving on ~ Singing or silent.
"Getting it" or grasping at answers in the dark~ Whole or broken.
And Rich gave us so much.
Thank you to Fly By Promotions- Propeller Consulting, LLC for my review copy.
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