In this dramatic journey of restoration and salvation, we witness the cruel realities in both the rough streets of Washington, D.C. and the sleepy rural town of Waterproof, Louisiana. Single mother Tyree Battle (April Grace) struggles to keep her young son, Thaniel (Cordereau Dye) away from the gang-plagued city streets that he is mixed up in. Under severe gang pressure, Thaniel accidentally shoots Jewish shopkeeper Eli Zeal (Burt Reynolds) in a botched robbery attempt. Tyree, protecting her son from the law, kidnaps Eli and flees to her hometown of Waterproof that she has been estranged from for fifteen years, having left behind her long-suffering mother (Ja’net Dubois), her hard drinking older brother Big (the late Anthony Lee) and her slow-minded younger brother Natty (Orlando Jones).
Wounded and slowly recovering, Eli initially struggles with his forced captivity, but soon finds an understanding in the power of forgiveness. He begins to break down racial barriers by fitting in with the African American family that has taken him in – especially with Grandpa Sugar, (the late Whitman Mayo) the charmingly wise family patriarch. The irrepressible faith of Tyree’s mother is the glue that ultimately holds the family together as she welcomes back her ‘prodigal daughter’ with open arms. When Thaniel innocently looks at a portrait of Jesus and asks, “Who’s the white dude?” she realizes how desperately her daughter and grandson need her guidance to submit to Christ.
The unplanned family reunion causes the entire family to confront their own deeply buried secret that eventually brings about an emotional and spiritual rebirth for all with the help of Eli.
Anyone who has ever struggled with faith will identify with this film. You’ll want to stand up and cheer when a lost loved one comes home and overcomes internal struggles that help her make her way to the altar. This is a very warm movie. I like that it is sort of a coming home movie. A single mother can’t take care of her son by herself, and the only place that she can think to turn is her mother’s house, from which she ran away many years ago. She gets back into the feeling of being home again, but some secrets come up that seem to make her want to run away again. With the help of her family and her new friends she realizes that you don’t have to run away from your problems.