The Heart of Man: The Parable of the Prodigal Son Like You've Never Seen Before

Nothing is so dead that God can’t grow something living in it. 

From executive producer Brian Bird (The Case for Christ), The Heart of Man shares a story on multiple levels to connect the Biblical narrative to the wrestling match that men and women find themselves in. Beautifully displayed in its narrative elements and incredibly personal in its documentation of the stories of real-life people, The Heart of Man will call you to consider your identity in God’s creation and the road to healing for those who are hurting. 

The film begins with a narrative silently played across a lush island paradise, as a father figure (Robert Fleet) leads his multigenerational, multiracial family in work, community, and fellowship. The prodigal (Justin Torrence) is happy at first, connecting with the father and literally making beautiful harmonies with him, but his attraction to a nearby island draws him away. In beautiful (and horrific) visuals, the narrative shows a visual parable about what it means like to be drawn by desires and struggles away from the center of our being. 

In the documentary sessions juxtaposed within scenes of the narrative, several men and women share their stories of identity, addiction, and sexual brokenness. Several men share how they were drawn into affairs, into addiction with porn, and finally into brokenness that was publicly visible to all; author Paul Young (The Shack) and spoken word artist Jackie Hill Perry share how an abusive childhood led them to make decisions that drew them farther and farther away from God and real relationships. In the midst of all of these revelations, experts like Dr. Dan Allender (Mars Hill Graduate School) and Tony Anderson (Unearthed) share the way that brokenness exhibits itself spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 

You’re the one that [God] left the ninety-nine to go find. 

The narrative and documentary pieces of the film are so wonderfully woven together that the bi-level development of the story becomes even more powerful. In some ways, there’s little to compare it to - in fact, Masterless, a split-screened story about a mythical level and literal level, is the closest to come to mind. Here, we can see the ways that the interviews matter because the real-life stories connect us to the way that the sin and brokenness breaks down people’s relationships with God and other people. But thanks to the narrative, we see a more universal understanding of grace in the midst of the prodigal’s ‘everyman’ situation. 

As a Fathom Event on September 14, The Heart of Man will challenge audiences nationwide to consider what they’re chasing that leads them away from the Creator, and offer them hope to find healing in the arms of a God who has never turned His back on them. The sadness is palpable in the stories displayed on film, but the joy in their restoration powerfully conveys the grace of God for all people, in all situations. Consider the film for yourself - or for a friend who needs to be reminded that they’re loved no matter what.