Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Demetrius Grosse, Nika King, Diaana Babnicova
Joshua Weigel
Joshua Weigel, Rebekah Weigel
Rated PG-13
135 Mins.
Angel Studios/DailyWire+

 Movie Review: Possum Trot 
Add to favorites

If you're expecting Joshua Weigel's Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot to be just another feel-good story about foster care and adoption, you might want to prepare yourself for the fact that Possum Trot is no Mark Wahlberg film. 

Don't get me wrong. Possum Trot is inspirational. However, unlike the vast majority of films that tackle this subject Possum Trot is willing to get gritty and honest about the realities of foster parenting and what it means to try to take care of and love children who often arrive in a stranger's home with fears, anxieties, an abundance of traumas, and a longing to be loved and accepted that won't be met simply by a smile and hug. 

Sometimes, love gets ugly. 

I loved Wahlberg's Instant Family and I've loved a myriad of other films that have encouraged us to take seriously the command to love one another and to open our homes to the orphans and widows. Howeve,r there's little denying that most of these films have shown foster care and adoption through rose-colored glasses. 

In Possum Trot, those glasses are covered with the grit and grime of brutal realities for children who've done nothing wrong other than be born into difficult circumstances and forced to deal with situations far beyond their abilities. Adults would be traumatized. Children are absolutely devastated. 

For some, it will be beyond repair. 

Possum Trot is based on the real life story of Donna (Nika King) and Reverend Martin (Demetrius Grosse), a pastoral couple for the rural Texas congregation of Bennett Chapel in, you guessed it, Possum Trot, Texas. Possum Trot follows the Martins as they ignite a fire in their small congregation to embrace kids in the foster care system that nobody else would take. This resulted in 22 families adopting 77 children, essentially offering a home to every child with need in their east Texas locale, and proving that with real, determined love that the battle for America's most vulnerable can be won.

While Possum Trot could have easily gone the purely inspirational, feel-good avenue toward its journey of hope, this is a story with a devotion toward truth-telling and honest narratives. There's no pretending this wasn't a challenging decision to make and there's no pretending there weren't failures along the way. The Martins, as saintly as they might seem, are portrayed as achingly human with their own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and downright quirks. The children portrayed in Possum Trot are, indeed, the community's most vulnerable with heartwrenching traumas and emotional and physical baggage. 

This effort was undeniably stressful and challenging for the folks at Bennett Chapel and that's captured vividly, their hesitations and fears and those moments when you absolutely positively want to quit. 

Yet, they didn't. 

While Possum Trot spotlights several of the children and their stories, the film largely centers its narrative around the fiercely compelling story of Terri (Diaana Babnicova), a young girl on the cusp of being a young woman who has been forced to grow up to quickly and whose presence constantly feels like a powder keg ready to blow. In many ways, she's a typical traumatized child - intensely wounded and aching for human connection and love yet unable to cope with it when it arrives in little bits and pieces. Babnicova's remarkable performance is the absolute heartbeat of Possum Trot and I've been unable to stop thinking about her ever since watching the film. 

As the Martins, Nika King and Demetrius Grosse absolutely captivate. King, perhaps best known for her television work on Euphoria, gives a towering performance as a woman determined to love yet also with her own unhealed wounds and raw spaces. Gross, as well, gives an intuitive and deeply felt performance as a country pastor who knows he's asking his church to go beyond their capabilities but asks anyway and loves them through it all. 

There are other strong performances along the way - Elizabeth Mitchell shines as Susan, both symbolic of the system yet also someone who reminds us that there are human beings behind those desks. As someone who works for "the system," I resonated deeply with Mitchell's Susan and her tapestry of administrative responsibility and compassionate determination. Young Ellis Hobbs IV is strong in a relatively brief appearance as Joshua, Demian Castro is memorable as Chewy and the list goes on. This is a mighty fine ensemble. 

Possum Trot inspires, however, it's a hard-earned and hard-fought inspiration based upon what it means to love our community's most vulnerable people. It's not easy. It's heartbreaking. It's exhausting. It's risky. 

It's what we're called to do. 

This latest film from Angel Studios in partnership with DailyWire+ opens exclusively in theaters on July 4th and is yet another memorable winner from the up-and-coming indie folks at Angel Studios and a great partnership with DailyWire+. Catch it when you get the chance and pay it forward so that the people who need to see it get the chance to do so. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic