A Christian movie that includes some swearwords in the script is bound to sit uncomfortably with the faithful, but it's not exactly won round the non-believers either.
'Generational Sins' drops some F-bombs as it tries its hand at true-to-life storytelling instead of the more sanitized faith-based movies that Christians are used to.
The 90-minute drama tells the story of two brothers who must come to terms with their difficult past that includes an abusive, alcoholic father. That's made all the harder by the rocky relationship the two brothers share and the anger that older brother Drew still carries with him. In the end, Drew finds himself with no place to turn except God.
Director Spencer T. Folmar is unapologetic about writing curse words into his movie; for him, it's much-needed dose of realism in the Christian movie genre.
'Life is hard, messy, gritty, filled with disappointments, broken relationships and sin. Why shouldn't the films we create accurately reflect the lives we lead?' he told the New York Post.
But ultimately, the movie's 'hard faith' edge couldn't save it being panned by the critics.
Even the Christian movie review website Movie Guide called it 'dreary,' while of course criticizing the obscenities dropped throughout the movie.
'The worldview is Christian and redemptive, but there's a slew of foul language that warrants strong caution for adults,' it said.
The bottom line? A 'dreary but sometimes touching faith-based drama.'
The Los Angeles Times praised Folmar for 'avoiding the saccharine tone that plagues so many other films about faith,' but ultimately drew similar conclusions, saying that the movie lacked pace and used too much slo-mo to ill-effect.
And for them at least, with all the curse words, the movie still lacked authenticity – a criticism often leveled at Christian movies.
'Unlike many religious films, "Generational Sins" isn't afraid to actually show its characters sinning — even if those transgressions are simply PG-13 cursing with occasional shouts at the sky,' said the review.
'This drama from writer/director Spencer T. Folmar grapples with questions of faith in a not entirely pious way, and it's more reflective of the human experience than many of its pure-hearted brethren. However, it undercuts that authenticity by lacking strong character motivations and details that would make this story of redemption feel truer.'
Hollywood Reporter concluded that the combination of well-worn clichés and profane language could even be harmful for the movie's success as it is likely to disenfranchise both the Christian and non-Christian markets.
It writes: 'Notable only for Daniel MacPherson's strong performance in the central role, the film should please neither those looking for secular nor religious fare.'
If these reviews have left Folmar feeling browbeaten, he can take heart that audiences seem to feel better about his movie than the professional critics. At present, its Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes is an impressive 99%.