Can faith be found in the worst of circumstances? Can God prevail in the most impossible situations? Miracles still happen in George A. Johnson’s faith-based drama, Pursuit of Freedom. Anna (Jessica Koloian) is a Ukrainian mother of three whose deadbeat husband owes a lot of money to a local mob boss. When he can’t pay, the mobster abducts Anna forcing her into prostitution and sexual slavery. In the meantime, Anna’s husband flees, leaving his three children with Anna’s mother. Evading suspicion from the police, the grandma takes the kids into hiding in Armenia.
After years of enslavement, Anna becomes ill and no longer attractive to male clients. Passed out and left for dead on the road, Anna awakens days later in a hospital in Amsterdam, tended by the compassionate nurse Naomi (Sharonne Lanier). As Anna recovers, Naomi reads her Bible passages and converts Anna to Christianity.
Now Anna is determined to reunite with her missing children, but because she has no documentation and no idea where her children are, there’s nothing anyone can do… except God, of course. Naomi becomes resolute in helping Anna find her children. She sets off a seemingly random chain of events, starting with a call to an American pastor (Mark Lowry). Along the way, a missionary, Bedros (Stelio Savante), takes up the mantle to find Anna’s children in Armenia in a literal needle in a haystack situation.
“…takes up the mantle to find Anna’s children in Armenia in a literal needle in a haystack situation.”
Let’s be abundantly clear, Pursuit of Freedom is unmistakably a faith-based movie. I’ve seen more than my fair share of faith films over my lifetime, and its overriding message of faith in God, specifically Christianity, is on full display. I mention this not because it’s a bad thing but merely to manage expectations. Look, the film is meant to be a witnessing tool to bring people to Christ, and as a Christian myself, that’s not a bad thing.
On the other hand, I review all kinds of films. Unfortunately, the mid-range indie budget, average acting skills, and deeply religious message keep Pursuit of Freedom from breaking into mainstream theaters. But, as a faith-based film, it’s a good one. Inspired by real events, the story’s central focus is on the miracles that can happen through faith in God and Jesus Christ. The themes work itself around the idea of providence and “all things work together for the good of those who love God.”
At the same time, it’s a call for people to have faith and believe that all we need to do as people is do what’s morally right and compassionate, and God will do the rest. I believe the primary focus is on how God brings the right people in at the right time for his good works. Anna fights her way through the worst of humanity, corrupt police, and an insurmountable level of bureaucracy to show that being with her children is more than pure coincidence.
What I like about Pursuit of Freedom is that aspect of Christianity that I found attractive in my youth — loving your neighbor and risking your life for the sake of the less fortunate. There’s also the idea that there are still good people out there who could care less about your skin color, gender, or political party and help solely because you are in need.
Let’s be brutally honest: I don’t think Pursuit of Freedom will find an audience beyond the faith crowd, but God works in mysterious ways. Who am I to question that?
Pursuit of Freedom makes its theatrical release on September 16, 2022.
"…the story's central focus is on the miracles that can happen through faith..."