Same Kind of Different as Me Starts Slow, Becomes Captivating

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Same Kind of Different as Me

When an art dealer (GREG KINNEAR) is discovered to be cheating on his wife (RENEE ZELLWEGER), she forgives him on the condition they try to fix their relationship. For Ron Hall, this means he will be joining Debbie in assisting at a homeless shelter, not by writing a check but by using his hands and putting in the effort to get to know the people there and help them one-on-one. It is here that they meet Denver Moore (DJIMON HOUNSOU), a violent man with a criminal past. He also looks exactly like the man Debbie has been having dreams about, and she focuses on finding out more about him.

As the Halls work toward getting close to Denver, a friendship develops that defies the socio-economic boundaries that divide them. And the more Denver opens up to them about his past--growing up in the Jim Crow era where sharecroppers were still treated like slaves--and the tragic decisions he made afterward, the greater the bonds between the three of them grow, as Debbie's vision for the homeless mission and the people who depend on it transforms the neighborhood.

Things take a heartbreaking turn, however, when Debbie is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the two men come to rely on each other to deal with the coming loss.

JON VOIGHT stars as Greg's racist, alcoholic father, and THE WALKING DEAD alums THOMAS FRANCIS MURPHY and ANN MAHONEY both make appearances as regulars at the homeless mission.

Based on the true story written by Ron Hall, the film is broken up with interspersed scenes of Kinnear's character writing said book. As such, the movie is largely a flashback, which stops the action at certain points, and slows down the film from the starting line. Had it chosen instead to begin at the beginning, and move forward chronologically from there, it would have, perhaps, had a stronger open. It's still a great film, it just requires a bit of patience for it to truly get up to speed.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0