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Review of Ordinary Angels

Maria Montemayor

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ed and his daughter, Michelle. Photo courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications
Is it possible for an indisputably flawed person to be an angel in disguise? That’s a question viewers grapple with when they meet Sharon Stevens (Hilary Swank), a hairdresser with an unhealthy attachment to alcohol. In the beginning scenes of the movie, Sharon is downing shots and dancing on a table at a bar. The next day, her colleague, who was with her at the bar, drags her to an AA meeting even though she is hesitant to admit that she has a problem.
Sharon lives alone and has an estranged relationship with a loved one. She feels purposeless. When she sees in a newspaper headline that a young girl who lost her mother needs a liver transplant, the gears in Sharon’s head start to turn. She feels called to help this motherless child.
Sharon impulsively attends the funeral of a stranger so that she can meet Ed Schmitt (Alan Ritchson), a stubborn widower, and his two daughters, Ashley and Michelle. She recognizes Michelle, the younger daughter in need of the liver transplant, and her heart burns for the child. Determined to help Michelle, Sharon starts a haircut fundraiser for the child. After she gives the proceeds to Ed, it doesn’t take long for her to become enmeshed in his family.
This story isn’t a fairy tale. Sharon is an imperfect person; she makes mistakes. However, she is tenacious and doesn’t give up on helping Ed and his family. It is unusual for someone to go out of their way to help a stranger in need, and Sharon goes above and beyond for Ed’s family. Even though Ed begrudgingly accepts Sharon’s help, he questions her motives like most people would. Why would someone sacrifice so much of her time, energy, and resources to help a family she barely knows? 
Based on a true story, Ordinary Angels spotlights the human desire to connect with others and the importance of believing in a cause outside of yourself. As a single woman, Sharon could have turned a blind eye to Michelle and continued on the path of living only for herself and her needs. Instead, she used her skills and talents to make a difference in another family’s life. And she inspired others to help out a noble cause (financially and in other ways). 
The movie was a tearjerker. It showed the power of kindness and how helping others can give you a sense of purpose and distract you from harsh realities in life. There were slow moments, and the friendship between Ed and Sharon was tense at times, but the movie's overall message of compassion shone through.
Listen to Deacon Pedro’s interview with Andrew Erwin, co-producer of Ordinary Angels on the SLHour (available on-demand on March 4, 2024).

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