We all know Eddie Murphy for being a comedic genius. From starring in films like Beverly Hills Cop, Life, Nutty Professor, Shrek and his Oscar-nominated performance as James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls - we expect to have gut-wrenching laughter when Eddie appears on screen. But Mr. Church is different. Mr. Church leaves you in tears, and opens up a bottle of emotions that you didn't think you'd have when watching Eddie Murphy on the movie screen. This is Eddie's first cinematic project in four years, as well as his first dramatic role. Well, he better start getting fittings for his tuxedo because he'll need it to wear to the Oscars for Best Actor.
Eddie Murphy plays Henry Church, a cook who was hired to work for a dying, single mother Marie (Natascha McElhone). Marie is dying of breast cancer and has 6 months to live. So her ex-lover hires Mr. Church to cook for Marie and her young daughter Charlie (first Natalie Coughlin, then Britt Robertson). Initially, Charlie is not very happy with this arrangement, and is quite mean to Mr. Church. But over time, and good food, she opens up and grows to love and adore him. The 6 months Mr. Church was hired to be the cook, turned into 6 years. And before your very eyes, you see the love and joy that Mr. Church has brought to Charlie and her mom - they become family.
Based on a true story written by Susan McMartin and directed by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy), Mr. Church draws us in with Murphy's subtle and quiet warmth. A lot of people may say, this is yet another cliche' story of black characters who are the hired help and somehow become the saving grace to a white family. But, those stories typically are about black people who are treated as the "hired help" and are disrespected on so many levels. One thing you can say about Mr. Church is that he is very respected, and is more than just hired help. He becomes the glue that holds everything together in the family.
Marie eventually passes away from breast cancer, and one would think that Mr. Church's job is now done. But when you're family, there is no going away - it only makes Mr. Church and Charlie's bond even stronger. We see Charlotte’s coming-of-age adventures which include her best friend Poppy (Lucy Fry) and the local drunk Larson (Christian Madsen). More importantly, we get to see a very unique relationship with Mr. Church - even as Charlie leaves for college and later enters motherhood.
Mr. Church premieres in theaters this Friday September 16, 2016. If you want to see Eddie Murphy like you've never seen him before, make sure you check this film out! And please, don't forget your kleenex.
Last week, I attended the red carpet movie premiere in Hollywood, CA. Check out our interviews from Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Bruce Beresford, Susan McMartin and other members of the cast below.
Fun Studio Q moments on the red carpet...