Compassion, courage and commitment anchor the new movie, SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME, an uplifting faith-centered film, based on the New York Times best-selling true story of international art dealer Ron Hall (Oscar nominated and SAG award winner Greg Kinnear), who befriends—Denver–a homeless man (two-time Oscar nominated Djimon Hounsou) in hopes of saving his struggling marriage to Debbie (Oscar and Golden Globe winner Renee Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives.
Oscar and BAFTA award winner Jon Voight plays Hall’s father, with whom he reconciles thanks to the revelations of his new life, set in the southern United States, filmed on location in Jackson, Mississippi.
During conversations in Los Angeles to discuss the film, cast member Djimon Hounsou talked about the transforming essence of SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME, citing his own personal experience with homelessness. According to his own account, a number of years ago (in the 1980’s), Hounsou was a homeless teen living in Europe when discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Hounsou says he was told that the designer had been looking for the perfect model and it happened that “the look” was someone just like him. In that moment, his life forever changed.
Similarly, Ron Hall and his late wife Debbie, through their philanthropic efforts including feeding and caring for homeless persons, crossed paths with Denver who had lived on the streets for some 25 years. At Debbie’s insistence, Ron dropped his defenses and gave the burgeoning friendship a chance, though it was a rocky road initially until a true friendship forged. In Hall’s words, “Many people thought I saved Denver’s life but actually, Denver not only changed my life, he saved my life.”
The story gives plausibility to Denver’s “dangerous behavior” when he first encounters Ron and Debbie. Clearly enraged and distrustful, Denver’s volatile nature had deep roots from his segregated childhood. In an excerpt from the book, Denver explained his actions, “Lemme tell you what homeless people think about folks that help homeless people: When you homeless, you wonder why certain volunteers do what they do. What do they want? Everybody want somethin. For instance, when that couple come to the mission, I thought the man looked like the law. The way he dressed, the way he acted, too high-class and his wife, too, at first. The way she acted, the way she treated people…she just looked too sophisticated. Wadn’t the way she dressed. It was just something about the way she carried herself. And both of them was asking way too many questions.”
“While everybody else was fallin in love with ’em, I was what you call skeptical. I wadn’t thinkin nothin evil. It was just that they didn’t look like the type to come in and mess with the homeless. People like that may not feel it within themselves that they’re better than you, but when you are the one that’s homeless, you feel like they feel like they’re better than you.”
My 10-point Perspective:
The story has heart and a message we can all learn from—the needs of the homeless can be addressed, and in some ways, remedied
Never give up, no matter how tough life gets, it can get better, especially with the help of others
Take the time to speak to a homeless person with sincerity—it shows common courtesy and humanity
Homelessness is not the same for everyone—there are many causes and reasons persons find themselves without means and money
The power to affect another’s life is within reach and the effect of lending a helping hand is immeasurable
There is an authentic thread throughout the film and the language is palpable, suitable to all ages
The story reminds you of the familiar expression, “We are each other’s keeper”
Money does not a fulfilling life make; rather it can fulfill the needs of those without
Purpose and passion are priceless virtues
A smile is often hidden until the heart is touched, genuinely
SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME is a touching reminder of the good we can all do to make the world better, one person at a time. Highly recommended for families of all ages, the movie opens October 20, in theatres nationwide from Pure Flix. Let your voice be heard #SameKindMovie @SameKindMovie