Baptized

Critics' pick
Photograph: Carlos Baz
Baptized

Writer-director Kristen Lishen paints a pretty initial picture of a happy family seated around the dining-room table for Sunday lunch. Yes, it's a patriarchal household, where sexist views go unchallenged and the religious outlook is rigid, but Pastor Russell (David M. Farrington), his wife, Grace (Sabina Petra), and their three children don’t look like a dysfunctional family. When daughter Bonnie (Eilis Cahill) tells her aunt she fantasizes about her parents being dead (“They’re not good”) and a teenager in the congregation gets pregnant after one-on-one counseling sessions with the pastor, the pieces of a rather hellish puzzle start to fall into place. The all-around engaging cast leads you through an engrossing sequence of events, sometimes humorous but full of gut-twisting revelations about what happens behind closed doors. As the truth surfaces, you sit in suspense, praying that justice prevails.—Inge Crafford-Lazarus

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