Same Kind of Different as Me, rated PG-13
Same Kind of Different as Me is an inspirational film based on a true story. The film is directed by Michael Carney. The screenplay is written by Carney, Alexander Foard and Ron Hall, based on the bestselling book Same Kind of Different as Me by Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. The film features a very good cast, with four Oscar nominees, two of whom are Oscar winners.
As the film begins, we meet wealthy Texas art dealer Ron Hall, played by Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets). Ron’s marriage to Debby, played by a nearly unrecognizable Oscar winner Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain), hasn’t been good for a while, and he is now having an affair. When told by an acquaintance that if he doesn’t tell Debby about the affair that she will, Ron does confess to Debby, who is a Christian. The assumption is that Greg is not a believer.
Debby forces Ron to choose between her and the woman he is having an affair with. Ron chooses Debby and she agrees to forgive him, even calling the woman Ron has been having an affair with. She also wants him to serve with her at Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth, a local homeless shelter where we meet the likeable Chef Jim (Thomas Francis Murphy).
Debby is also having dreams, about a wise old Black man who will change the city.
It is at the homeless shelter that Ron and Debby meet Denver, whose street name is ‘Suicide’, played by two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, In America). Debby tells Ron that Denver is the man she has seen in her dreams. As they get to know Denver and build a relationship with him, Ron and Debby hear of his horrific past, which we see in flashbacks.
Oscar winner Jon Voight (Coming Home) plays Ron’s obnoxious alcoholic father Earl. Father and son have a contentious relationship. Ron’s mother is played by Geraldine Singer. The Hall’s children are Regan (Olivia Holt) and Carson (Austin Filson).
As far as content issues, the film does include several instances of the “n-word” and some of the flashbacks from Denver’s life show horrific things that happened to him.
The film is built around relationships and is a bit slow. In addition, clocking in at a full two hours, it could have been edited down significantly.
Overall, this is an inspirational film based on a true story that is well-acted, particularly by Djimon Hounsou. Themes include self-sacrifice, pain, faith in action, love, kindness, forgiveness, friendship and hope.