Review: 'Sojourners Internship Program' is a Real Treat | Sojourners

Review: 'Sojourners Internship Program' is a Real Treat

Every movie is, in some way, about a journey. Sometimes it’s a literal journey from one place to another. Sometimes the journeys are emotional, professional, or spiritual. Each journey in a film can reflect the journeys of our own lives — it’s one of the reasons we like going to the movies so much.

It’s rare, however, that a film can take all of these journeys and still tell a cohesive story. Sometimes, when we’re very lucky, a truly special film comes along that gets as close as possible to combining and distilling the infinite layers of the human experience. The Sojourners Internship Program is one of these truly special feats. It takes each facet of its characters’ journeys seriously, and allows each of them to explore those facets in their own unique ways.

Like most great stories, the setup of The Sojourners Internship Program is simple, but filled with the potential to go any number of directions: 10 individuals from different ethnic, economic, political and spiritual backgrounds are selected as interns for a social justice organization. They travel to Washington, D.C., to live in community and work together. But the community they live in is no ordinary community, and neither is the organization. The interns enter their house in Columbia Heights as strangers with hopes, ideals, doubts, and a few preconceived notions. But they will leave forever changed.

The organization at the heart of The Sojourners Internship Program is just one of the great things about this beautiful, thoughtful, and challenging piece of art. It has its own rich history, a complicated and colorful tapestry of victories, defeats, joys, and sorrows. The genuine caring each employee displays toward each other and toward the 10 fresh-faced newcomers inevitably brings to mind John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

It comes as no surprise then, that those same behaviors extend to the community of interns as they learn more about their work and the issues they will come to be passionate about. Fortunately, the film doesn’t sugar-coat anything — these folks are only human, after all, and what’s a good story without a little conflict now and then? But the way these ten young idealists work together eventually mirrors the way they live together, and that gradual transformation with its own celebrations, disappointments, pain, and healing, is a beautiful thing to behold.

Another fascinating aspect is that The Sojourners Internship Program is impossible to pigeonhole as a cinematic experience. Is it funny? Scary? Dramatic? Introspective? Action-packed? At times it is each of these. The fact that it never settles on one isn’t confusing so much as accurate. If the goal is to create a genuine, lifelike experience, the film must include all of them.

But perhaps the most exciting thing is that the ending of the film presents the possibility for many more stories, since the fate of each of the interns remains uncertain at its close (do I smell a franchise?).

The Sojourners Internship Program isn’t a self-contained journey, but instead the beginning of several more with endless possibilities attached to each. One film simply doesn’t feel like enough time spent with this setting, these characters, or the deep questions they bring up. The possibility of sequels feels almost too good to be true. But eager moviegoers won’t have long to wait! The journey continues at the end of August*.

Catch two trailers here and here

Abby Olcese is the Advertising Assistant for Sojourners.

*This 'film' review is a work of humor in service of the Sojourners internship program. Now accepting applications through March 1.

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