Reviewed by: Lisa Carter
Release Date: January 9, 2014
Director: David Shultz
Writer: David Shultz
Cast: David Shultz, Michael Koch, Wolfgang Bodison, James Kyson
Ragamuffin is based on events in the life story of famed Christian Contemporary singer and songwriter Richard Wayne Mullins better known as Rich Mullins. The movie is set in Indiana where the family lived on their small farm. As was common in those days, Rich, although still a child at the time, learns to drive a tractor in order to help his father on the farm. He desperately wants to help, but quickly learns he is just not cut out for this type of grueling work. He often makes mistakes and his father is relentless in making sure he knows about it.
The father, John, is repeatedly disappointed in his son’s performance on the farm and his words hurt Rich deeply. All the boy wants to do is please his father. Would he ever gain his father’s approval? Would he ever quiet the negative thoughts that continue to creep into his mind and heart telling him he’ll never be good enough?
When Rich discovers what he is good at, it gives him at least some solace and comfort. He discovers music and passionately heads in that direction and never looks back. Of course, he’d like to be good at the things other boys are good at, such as farm work, and sports, but he discovers he’s just not like everyone else. He shares with his mother that he feels he “doesn’t belong anywhere.” Was this just childhood insecurity? Or was it God calling him to greatness?
Having suffered verbal abuse by his father, Rich continuously asks himself the question, “Does God really love me?” Every day becomes a journey toward the discovery of the answers he seeks so desperately. Throughout the movie, it’s evident he’s searching, seeking, and trying to find the real love and acceptance he’s always wanted and needed. Would he ever find it?
Because of Rich’s strong convictions to live a life that honors God, simply and without fanfare, the movie is very impactful and interesting. You just don’t see many “rags to riches” stories where the person is actually content wearing the rags. The movie is well-done in the sense that it shows a real person and glimpses of what his life was really like, struggles and all. It doesn’t paint a picture of a perfect Christian, and Rich wouldn’t have wanted it to.
I would rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars for the story line and the way it captures and holds your attention throughout. He also consistently wrote and performed God-inspired music that made the love of God known to the world, and gave people hope and inspiration.
Things to be aware of:
Verbal abuse and a general lack of love displayed by the father to young Rich. Drinking, and smoking by Rich at various points throughout the movie. Rich’s actions appear somewhat violent when he’s so distraught in the phone booth after hearing his fiancé announce she is engaged to marry someone else.