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The Independent Critic

Lara Silva, Jesse Metcalfe, Debra Stipe, Jason Burkey, Matt Borlenghi, Stephanie Parker
Shari Rigby
Susannah Eldridge, Claire Yorita Lee, Suzanne Niles, Shari Rigby
Great American Pure Flix

 Movie Review: Divine Influencer 
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I think about it a lot. 

Who do I influence? Who do I let influence me? As a Christian, do I live my life in a way that it influences people toward Christ? Or do they see something else. Likewise, who are the people of faith who have the strongest impact on my spiritual growth?

I thought about all of these things while watching Shari Rigby's Divine Influencer, an engaging and entertaining film that started streaming this week on Great American Pure Flix. The film stars The Chosen's Lara Silva as Olivia, a successful twentysomething "influencer" who seemingly comes from a background of wealth and who has learned how to parlay that into a successful online career influencing others toward what we often think of in society as "the good life." However, when a major faux pas leads to Olivia losing her influencing gig and is followed up by her parents cutting her off from the family's wealth in an effort to encourage her independence suddenly Olivia's influence becomes more than a little suspect. 

Essentially broke and homeless, Olivia stumbles across a gig at a nearby homeless shelter that will at least give her a place to stay while she gets things figured out. As you might expect, however, along the way Olivia begins to learn lessons about what it really means to have influence and what it really means to influence others. Forced into a most humbling situation, Olivia begins to humble herself and realize that she may very well have underestimated how much God wants to use her to positively influence the lives of others and to shine His light in a world so desperate for it. 

While this latest Great American Pure Flix release could have easily gone the cheesy route, for the most part it's a realistic and heartfelt drama in which we are reminded that all human beings are of value in God's eyes and how we're all called to live for more than social media success, likes, shares, and numbers that may look impressive but actually say very little about who we are and our faith. 

Lara Silva shines as Olivia, equally impressive as the young woman immersed in the fantasy world of online success as she is the woman who suddenly looks around her life and begins to see the fullness of the world around her. Watching Silva breathe life into Olivia is luminous, though it's refreshing that Divine Influencer doesn't give Olivia an easy out and there are light yet meaningful twists and turns along the way. The always reliable Jason Burkey is here as Ryan, an old friend of Olivia's who also heads up the shelter and serves as a role model of sorts for Olivia as she begins sorting out her life. Additional terrific performances are turned in by the scene-stealing Stephanie Parker as Karla, Micah Lynn Hanson as Tara, and Rebecca Koon as Flora among others. 

Divine Influencer tackles the world that we live in and, rather refreshingly, doesn't completely condemn it. Instead, it wisely and beautifully takes the concept of influence and places it through the lens of faith and being a Christian. Instead of condemning Olivia's gifts for influence, Divine Influencer reimagines that gift as a way of creatively and powerfully making the world a better place and illustrating what it means to have genuine influence. 

Divine Influencer is available for viewing now on Great American Pure Flix. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic