Documentary filmmaker R. Scott Cooper, on a mission to expose the dark side of Christian culture, infiltrates a small group.
R. Scott Cooper uneasily agrees to secretly shoot a film for a sleazy producer hoping to reveal corruption and hypocrisy in the local evangelical church. Naturally, the best way to get this footage is to join a small group. Equipped with secret cameras, Scott and his wife Mary pretend to be Christians as Scott films every interaction with their new friends.
At first, the people in the small group are vaguely familiar. One won’t stop talking, is sarcastic, and has bad taste in jokes. Another is nice enough but shares too much about his life too soon. Others are simply awkward and effortlessly make the whole room uncomfortable. Only in a church small group will you find such a different bunch of people who have so little in common. But just when the Coopers are sure that their stereotypes are correct, things start to change, and they begin to see God at work in their own lives. As the small group loves the Coopers through thick and thin, Scott and Mary begin to grasp what grace truly means. The end is too good to give away.
Small Group tells a story that invites viewers into self-examination on what they believe about other people and how they arrived at those beliefs. The film artfully sets up negative stereotypes and then knocks them down as characters become more deeply known. Though never stated outright, Small Group urges viewers against haste when deciding who is worth befriending, what cause is worth supporting, and what groups of people are worth accepting. Small Group doesn’t force its message upon viewers, but is humbly and emotionally dogmatic: if you want to live a powerful life, be slow to judge and quick to love.
Dove.org awards Small Group the 18+ Seal of Approval.
The Dove Take
Small Group builds stereotypes then skillfully knocks them down, using the power of film and emotion to urge viewers to slow judgement and quicken love.