• Deborah Ljung

Film Review: Hiding in Plain Sight

This week’s film review is for the film “Hiding in Plain Sight,” which is directed by M Legend Brown


The Plot

A hard-working couple, plagued by bad luck, face the grim reality of being homeless. Their hope is almost gone, but faith may offer answers.



Review Questions

Does the plot glorify God?

The plot includes the concept of bad luck. The scale for the definition of luck is broad - everywhere from fortunate or unfortunate circumstances to spiritualism.

Webster’s dictionary says: a force that brings good fortune or adversity, the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual. I have a problem with the word luck whether it points to good or bad circumstances because it doesn’t specifically point to God, our Creator and the ultimate, divine power. The plot does also points to hope and faith, which have their solid foundation in God, through Jesus Christ.


The film starts off with one of the main characters, Darius, asking why bad things always happen to good people. This reminds me of the Book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon reflects on the justice in this world and becomes quite despondent that the wicked seem to prosper while good people suffer.


Ecclesiastes 7:15 says, In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.


The film’s focus is loosely centered on this reflection. I reflected on that if we only see God in this light, then we get an incorrect picture of who God is, which is what is partly played out in the film, by Darius.


Darius had his moments of faith. A line he said caught my attention, “Being in church soothes the soul.” There is certainly power in Christian fellowship and gathering to pray and worship the Lord. Reading about the early church in Acts 4 is such an inspiration as to how the body of Christ - the church, was meant to be.

There is a scene where the congregation is asked to give a specific offering amount. It’s quite a large sum and the verse Malachi 3:10 was displayed on the back wall on the podium: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.


I actually got Proverbs 3:9, the same day I watched the film which is also related to giving offerings to the Lord. It says, Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; I found it interesting how Darius, the husband of one of the main characters, connected giving tithes and offerings to being exempt from suffering, even though he read the Bible, which says that we live in a sinful world and are not saved by our works.


There are lots of contrasts in this film. We see a teacher, who is very focused on doing good for the have-nots in his community, rely on secular means. He doesn’t have faith, yet he can be seen as prospering in worldly assets: He has a beautiful wife and daughter, a lovely home and a meaningful, permanent job. It’s interesting that the amount the Preacher asks each member of the congregation ($500) is the amount this teacher took out of his joint account with his wife, to help some children (which his wife reacted negatively to). There were many people in the congregation during that service. If the teacher had belonged to this congregation, one person’s contribution that day could have helped the children he was struggling to help on his salary, combined with limited grants from the local authority.


Darius’ grandmother, a woman of strong faith, who raised Darius, said to him, “It is hard being a man and knowing the right thing to do.” This made me think of the documentary film, Show Me the Father (which I have also reviewed on True to the Word). The film is based on the biblical role of a father, and how our modern society has strayed far away from this role. Show Me the Father portrayed men who were living that role - whether it was a biblical father, husband or mentor. We see Darius struggle with what the right thing to do is, as he turns away from the Word of God, the ultimate role model, because it points to Christ, who in turn points to the Father.


There were many intense scenes in the film. There was a scene where Darius threatens his daughter with physical discipline using a belt, which he called “Sierra”. I was surprised that his threat was not met with any negative comments or actions by the onlookers. It seemed to be portrayed as a normal thing. Which makes me think of the line in the Bible that many misinterpret: Proverbs 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. The word rod in the verse can also refer to correction, figuratively speaking.


We see both the secular couple and the couple of faith struggling with their current situation, which was so far from their normal standards of living, a short time before. Both husbands had been successful men, yet a series of events had led them to this dismal situation. What caught my attention was that Darius, who had faith, had the same focus as the secular husband, due to his weakened faith. Both men wanted to protect and provide for their families, but they were both struggling because they were relying on their own strength, which led to strong feelings of frustration, worthlessness and anger.


Both couples were depicted as being faithful to one another. The men seemed to have a huge sense of loyalty and protection over their wives and children - putting their families first above everything else. There was a lovely scene where they discussed how they met their wives and how their wives made them feel. There is another scene where the wives were discussing their husbands and reflecting over that they had married smart men with goals, which left them wondering how they had arrived to where they were now. Both women were determined to stand by their husbands, to keep their families together - even if it meant living on the streets for the foreseeable future.


We see a realistic depiction of the day to day hardships of living on the streets: Lack of food, using restrooms to freshen up, the limited freedom in how much they could keep themselves clean, limited resources for washing their clothes - all of this. while they still had to function among their peers. There is one scene where the oldest daughter complained that they were made fun of at school, because they hadn’t washed properly in months.


It made me reflect on the dynamics of living on the streets. I had questions, that were probably not logical to someone who has had this experience. The film depicted the shame, secrecy and frustration involved in the experience and how people who lived on the street were viewed by society, no matter what their background was. More importantly, the film depicted the challenges in the walk of faith when our lives take a turn for the worse and when we see non-believers prospering, when we remain in our trial. We see the role of a spouse - when one is down, the role of the other is to lift them up, not punch their partner down further. Darius’ wife was shown as being instrumental in reminding him about his faith, when he felt like he had very little left. There are some scenes where you see her struggle, but her faith enables her to bounce back, as she is not relying on her own strength - she knew to seek the Lord in all seasons.


Through it all, Darius’ wife attended church services with their two children. What is surprising is that Darius refused to get help from their local church, even though the body of Christ is supposed to look after each other. This is in line with my experience of the modern church. All too many members don’t feel the church body is somewhere to go with problems. It’s more about going to a formal worship service and being involved in Bible study, fund raising activities and pot lucks. So Darius’ Pastor didn’t even know this family in his congregation was living on the streets when he asked them for $500 to help people who were in need..


During a church service, the Pastor referred to Romans 8:38-39.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


I included this verse in my baptism service five years ago. This verse describes Satan’s motivation in the spiritual battle - to separate us from God and God knows how hard Satan tries. This film shows how Satan can manipulate and use any situation to get us to doubt that God truly loves us. To get us to believe that it is not sin that causes misery and pain in this world - but God. To get us to be angry at and blame God for our circumstances in a sinful world, when His Word tells us through clear accounts who is responsible for sin and what the future holds for the devil - the father of lies. There is a very powerful scene when Darius almost believes Satan’s lies and gives in to the devil. That’s where Romans 8:38-39 comes in, 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I am reminded of another verse in scripture that shows us how God saves us from the misery Satan tries to bury us in.

Lamentations 3:23-26 says, Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

The film shows how important it is for us to surround ourselves with people who encourage our faith through all seasons, and refer to the word of God, our ultimate authority. Darius’ grandmother was depicted as a woman who had a strong faith in God, who gave Darius and his wife encouragement based on God’s truth. I really admire the relationship Darius’ wife had with his grandmother. His grandmother respected and supported their marriage, in every way, providing spiritual advice, based on the word of God. Darius’ wife saw her as a mentor and a pillar of strength, because of her strong faith. It’s another example of how important spiritual mentors, who live their lives by the Word of God, are in our lives. It’s sorely needed in a world where even Christians encourage one another to turn to wordly entertainment and other secular solutions to ease the stress of everyday life in a sinful world.


It was encouraging to hear Darius’ wife sing spiritual songs to her family in the evening. It reminded me of Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


I have learned a lot of scripture by singing Bible verses put to melody. It helps us hide God’s Word in our heart for all the seasons of life.


There is a lot more going on in this film, but I will let you experience that for yourselves. The last main thing I would like to mention was the portrayal of how difficult it is, when a married couple is not on the same page. We had three sets of couples, but I am mostly thinking of Darius and his wife, whose relationship became turbulent due to Darius’ decrease in faith and the teacher, whose wife did not support his passion for helping children in need. Her focus was more on her career than her family. Both situations put a heavy strain on the marriages and while their paths were different, one being of faith and the other secular, it shows us that a life time commitment is about walking together - not pulling each other in different directions. which only amounts to strife and frustration.


Did the film encourage my faith?

The film was encouraging in the sense that we know what we should do when we face trials, but we are also sinful human beings who fall, doubt, have “pity parties,” as Darius called it, and think we don’t deserve the unfortunate situations that happen to us - forgetting the sin drenched world we live in. It shows how hard the walk of faith is, yet the power we always have through God’s grace and mercy, thanks to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.


Would I change anything about the film?

There was a scene where Darius’ wife spoke of being tempted to steal candy, but there was a security camera on the wall, so she didn’t. There was another scene where Darius reminds his family of what story to tell when they get pulled over by police. These were scenes that depicted the dire and desperate situation this family was in, nevertheless, there was no counter-balance to remind them that stealing was against God’s Law. There was another scene involving stealing where it was depicted as wrong, but this was not linked to the Law of God. It would have been good to link these acts to the Word of God, to encourage Christians to turn to God and not sin, even in dire situations. Easier said than done I know - which is why God has given us His word, grace and mercy. This reminds me of verses in John 16: 4, 7, and 13, that speak of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am also reminded of Matthew 6:33 when the Lord tells us to seek His kingdom first and a verse in Psalm 25 that I often prayer over. Verse 21 says, Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.



SUMMARY

Darius, asks why bad things always happen to good people.

Ecclesiastes 6:20 says, Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.


Matthew 5:43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.


We revisit Lamentations 3:23-26: Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Hiding in Plain Sight gives glory to God by lifting up the power of faith and trusting the promises God has given us in His Word. It shows how verses like Matthew 5:43-45 and Lamentations 3:23-26 play out in our daily lives. It shows how faith must be our foundation in the spiritual battle and how the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit, is our weapon. It shows how God delivers His promises to those who trust in Him. The result may not be as we expect it to be, and we may not even see the results in our life time, but God’s Word says, He is just, and that this world is not the final destination for those who put their trust in Him.


2 Corinthians 4:17 says, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,


I watched Hiding in Plain Sight on www.tubitv.com.


Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.




NB! The links I reference for my films is the source I used, but it is not an endorsement of the entire film streaming company. I am sure this particular film can be found on various digital streaming companies.



Source for thumbnail: www.tubitv.com


11 views0 comments