‘Sound of Hope’ – Bring a Kleenex Box (Maybe Two)

Gritty, faith-based drama packed with powerhouses performances

The best faith-based films have dirt under their fingernails.

It’s one thing to praise Jesus and the power of God. It’s another to acknowledge the bumps and bruises along the spiritual way.

It’s why “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot” is a winner from start to finish. The true story of a small Texas town that opened its arms to vulnerable children isn’t here to sugarcoat reality.

Nor does the saga downplay the Christian roots embedded in the tale. Those elements are inextricably tied together.

Sound Of Hope: The Story Of Possum Trot | Official Trailer | Angel Studios

The story opens in 1996, centering on Bishop W.C. Martin (Demetrius Grosse) and First Lady Donna Martin (Nika King) of Possum Trot, Texas.

Donna’s saintly mother, who reared 18 children, passes early in the film. That leaves the grieving daughter to reconsider her modest brood. Can’t they summon her late mother’s spirit and give a home to more children?

She starts digging into the adoption process and finds a trove of troubled foster children. Let’s start there, she says to herself.

Bishop isn’t convinced.

His reservations power the film’s early sequences. How often do you see a couple fight over the prospect of foster children and, later, the husband attempts to seduce his wife with Bible verses?

This isn’t your average faith-based drama.


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Donna teams with a pragmatic social worker (a solid Elizabeth Mitchell) to adopt two foster children. That’s only the beginning.

Bishop leans on his charismatic sermons to inspire other families to open their homes and hearts. It won’t be easy. The flock stumbles under the pressure of adding troubled kids to their homes. Traumatized kids act out, early and often.

Their respective finances take a hit, too.

Can the Martins lead the way? Or will their newest foster child Terri (Dianna Babnicova), a girl who thinks she’s a cat, prove love can’t actually conquer all?

Grosse and King are so marvelous, both separately and together, you’ll wish there was an acting honor for dual performances. Grosse’s pulpit work is first rate, but it’s how he combines a loving spirit with masculinity that sells the character.

King’s First Lady has enough love for all of her East Texas town, but she’s no saint. Her relatable meltdowns flash her emotional limits.

A lesser screenplay might deify the duo. Not “Sound of Hope.”

At one point Mitchell’s social worker cops to her own limitations. When pressed about temporarily caring for two foster kids she quips, “I’d take them home with me, but I have drinking to do.”

Dirt. Fingernails.

Sound Of Hope: The Story Of Possum Trot | First Look | Angel Studios

The younger performers give similarly sharp turns, particularly Babnicova. Poor Terri reverts to a feline persona when emotionally cornered. The film doesn’t delve deeply into that tic, all for the better. What’s more measured and worthwhile is the loss of trust Terri has for everyone in her orbit.

“Sound of Hope” gently details what these foster children have endured, from horrifying scars to wounds that hint at lifelong trauma.

Cardboard characters are at a minimum. Even a well-heeled pastor is given a modicum of grace.

Much of “Sound of Hope” is set in church, and those scenes hum with authenticity and reverence. Grosse deserves much of the credit, but the creative team behind “Sound of Hope” respects the cultural rhythms in play.

The film preaches but somehow isn’t preachy.

Audiences will come away with a fresh appreciation for foster families and the need to reach beyond one’s comfort zone. And, chances are, they’ll need an electrolyte boost after the emotional end credits.

The film’s final scenes and real-world updates are brutal to the tear ducts.

HiT or Miss: “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot” will leave your spine stiffened and eyes glistening.


  1. Bringing a box of Kleenex to a film could be interpreted in different ways. At least you weren’t referring to the child trafficking film Sound of Freedom

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