A few months ago I started seeing mention of a new movie called Ragamuffin pop up on Facebook. After a while, I noticed that it was based on the life of one of my favorite Christian musicians, Rich Mullins, and I made a mental note to try to see it. So I was really excited when I received the chance to review this movie. Here's a bit about it, from a press release that I received:
RAGAMUFFIN is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita, Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity.I first became aware of Rich Mullins when I arrived at my Christian college in the fall of 1995. I had grown up in the church- my dad's even a pastor. But my personal relationship with Christ was non-existent. I didn't even really realize that until I got to college and saw the difference in the lives of many of the people that I met there. I started attending evening devotions and many of the songs that spoke to me most deeply during those devotional times were ones that Rich had written. He had a way of getting to the truth of life and personal faith. His songs were an important seed planted in my heart that eventually led to me accepting Christ when I was 19. When he died in a car accident in 1997, our college community grieved deeply.
Another person that touched our lives deeply at college was a visiting chapel speaker named Brennan Manning. When he came to speak at our school, no one wanted to miss chapel that day. We crammed ourselves in and listened to his words. His books are still some of my favorites. I was unaware, however, of the role that he had played in Rich Mullins' life until I watched this movie.
All this to say, I was already emotionally invested in this story when I started watching the movie. Watching the life of Rich Mullins unfold on the screen and seeing the depth and complexity of his relationship with God makes his songs mean even more to me now. The movie does not shy away from showing the rough edges of Rich's life, from his relationship with his dad to his drinking and smoking and doubts. The story is woven together with lots of performances of Rich's music. The actor playing him in this movie is a musician and is very talented, so he did a nice job with these classic songs. The actor playing Brennan Manning did a nice job of conveying the love and compassion that Brennan possessed, and it was wonderful to hear some of Brennan's words brought to life again.
This movie will encourage you to step out on faith and get out of your comfortable world and truly live for Christ. My husband, who did not listen to Rich Mullins' music before and didn't know many of the songs, was less effected by the movie on a personal level, but he said it was a very interesting biopic and a great message of faith as well. He did note that the movie ran a little long (it's 2 hours and 14 minutes long, and I have to agree with him on that), but that he enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed the movie and was glad to be reminded about Rich's music. It motivated me to pull out my old CDs and listen to them again.
This is not a movie that I wanted my kids to watch, since they are only 5 and 6, but I wouldn't hesitate to watch it with a youth group or with kids probably 10 and up. Just be prepared to have a discussion about the vices as well as the strengths of Rich Mullins' life. Don't miss the extra features as well- there's a great short bit by Rich's brother Dave that's excellent. And be sure to watch the end credits- there's some great footage from one of Rich's concert and features him speaking and telling a truly terrible fish joke :)
The movie is available now- visit this link for information on where to purchase.
I have good news- one lucky reader will win a copy of Ragamuffin! Open to US and Canadian mailing addresses, enter at the Rafflecopter widget below.