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A farmer moves his family to South Africa and suffers a series of seemingly insurmountable losses. Through unlikely friendships and much needed divine intervention, he discovers his life's true purpose and it sustains his unwavering belief in the power of faith. A moving life journey of a man who, like his potatoes, grows his faith, unseen until the harvest.
The growing genre of Christian cinema adds to its flock Faith Like Potatoes, based on the book of the same name about a real-life South African farmer named Angus Buchan. Buchan accepted Jesus at a moment of crisis and began experiencing miracles, ranging from sudden rain putting out a wildfire to reviving a woman struck by lightning. The movie follows Buchan played by Frank Rautenbach, star of a South African soap opera from his failed farm in Zambia to his rise as a lay evangelist, delivering a sermon in a massive South African stadium. He begins as a sullen, short-tempered man, quick to lash out at his wife the lovely Jeanne Wilhelm and the native Zulu workers on his struggling farm. But as his life takes on the purpose of spreading the Word, Buchan finds personal peace though he also faces personal tragedies. Faith Like Potatoes is squarely aimed at Christian viewers; its straightforward take on Christianity is unlikely to persuade skeptics. Despite the intriguing and for an American audience exotic locale, the problems Buchan faces overwork, an emotionally remote marriage feel bland and generic. Though Buchan clearly disapproves of a snide British farmer's colonialist contempt for the Zulus, the movie's own attitude towards them is paternalistic at best. Still, despite baldly expository dialogue, Faith Like Potatoes does have a steady forward momentum to its story, and there's little question that the right audience will find its message comforting and compelling. --Bret Fetzer