This is the story of a deeply flawed man, a man of God who serves the Lord but who yields to sexual temptation and fits of violent anger. In an interview with The Journal of Religion and Film Robert Duvall, who wrote, directed and played the title role of Sonny, said
Sonny’s a good guy; he believed he had a calling from the time he was twelve; and he errs like most characters do, you know? He’s a kind of percentage mixture at the beginning and at the end. There’s a certain percentage chance he will do good and a percentage chance he will again err. But he knows he has erred and that he needs confession and redemption.
Sonny is weak but accomplishes great things for God; Sonny sins but maintains his faith and ministry through his punishment. He is forgiven but must accept accountability.
I was the only one of us who liked this movie. The Husband said, "At least it didn't have subtitles." When I asked them if they liked it The Daughter just looked at me and The Younger Son said, "What was there to like?" I found a lot to like and a lot to identify with. I was touched by the always-there hope of redemption for all of us no matter how sinful we are. Let me hear an Amen!
This Distracted Globe has a review.