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The Preacher's Wife

Christmas is here, but for the Rev Henry Biggs (Vance) it's hard to be jolly. A life-long do-gooder, he's reached a mid-life crisis of faith: he's no longer convinced he's making a difference to his community, is failing to put in that quality time with his gospel-singing wife Julia (Houston) and son Jeremiah, and is tempted to sell up the run-down church he inherited from Julia's father to a smarmy property developer (Hines). Not only that, but he's even disbelieving when the Lord answers his prayers by sending down the Angel Dudley (Washington). A surprisingly tolerable remake of the 1947 Cary Grant vehicle The Bishop's Wife, thanks chiefly to the casting of Washington, who lends a vital blend of wit, pathos and self-effacement. A pleasingly uncynical film, too, about halfway real people and problems, however two-dimensional and trite. But, beware, if you can't abide Hollywood platitudes, if you're allergic to syrup, and if you object to a movie designed partly to showcase Whitney's new album.

Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Penny Marshall
Screenwriter: Nat Mauldin, Allan Scott
Cast: Whitney Houston
Denzel Washington
Gregory Hines
Courtney B Vance
Jenifer Lewis
Loretta Devine
Lionel Ritchie