'Sing Over Me' The Dennis Jernigan Documentary: Review and Commentary
There are few debates in modern culture today that inspire more hostility and division than views on homosexuality and religion. The documentary, Sing Over Me, does not attempt to answer every question, win every argument or sway every critic. Instead, it makes a case that the answer is not black and white, and that redemption is based in God’s love, and not in living in fear of his condemnation.
Sing Over Me tells the story of accomplished singer & songwriter, Dennis Jernigan and his struggle with, and eventual escape from, homosexuality. Jernigan has penned such contemporary Christian classics as Thank You, Lord, I Stand Amazed, and You Are My All In All, as testimony to the healing he says was gained from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jernigan shares some of his earliest memories, including the encounters that began to shape his attitudes towards homosexuality and sin. He recalls being accosted by a sexual predator at a young age, and despite escaping, this incident began the spiral of shame and hiding that would eventually come to define his adolescence. He reflects on his memories of the church and his heart breaking fear that those he respected most as men of God would reject him should they ever come to know his truth. He shares stories of his grandmother who encouraged him to learn music and provided a place in which he felt safe to be himself. Later we learn of his early adult life and the turning point that he says brought him to deliverance and eventually, a family of his own. It was this family that provided the support that would allow Dennis Jernigan to share his story with the world. The Documentary goes on to highlight the ministry Jernigan created to offer God's love to those who are struggling with the same issues and delves into the level of success he has achieved as a songwriter. Through all of this, the viewer cannot help but feel Jernigan’s pain, ache for his suffering, and possibly begin to question how we as Christians respond to what we deem as sinful.
Film Quality & Production Value
Carefully edited, and professionally presented, Sing Over Me is a beautifully made film. Scenes are shot in such a way that the viewer cannot help but feel present in the locations. Jernigan is an engaging and likeable subject. His passionate recollections and soul baring honesty make his screen time captivating. Jernigan provides some comic relief in his retelling of events and his story is layered throughout the film in such a way that the attention of the audience never wavers. Director/Producer/Editor Jacob Kindberg treats his subject material with grace and allows the story to speak for itself, without providing easy answers or preaching. Though the film’s subject matter is serious, the filmmakers succeed in making the message of this story a hopeful one.
See This Film Because
It would be easy to call Sing Over Me a movie about homosexuality or even a movie about forgiveness of sin. But both would be missing the mark in some ways. The message behind this film cannot be put so easily into a box because it doesn’t try to answer the questions surrounding the hotly debated issue. It only offers a peek into the life of a man who says he has lived it, both sides of it, and testifies that it was Jesus Christ who set him free. Viewers will walk away from this film contemplating the way we judge the hierarchy of sin and the value of showing love to those who know us as Christians.