The Overnighters

October 10th, 2014


The Overnighters

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Broken, desperate men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 7.7/10 (103 voted)

Critic's Score: 94/100

Director: Jesse Moss

Stars: Keegan Edwards, Jay Reinke

Broken, desperate men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

Keegan Edwards - Himself
Jay Reinke - Himself


Official Website: Official site

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 10 October 2014

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 9/10

As I write this, I have come to the realization that the Overnighters is among the most thought-provoking and well-made documentary movies I have ever seen. It is beautifully composed and edited, but sobering and utterly devastating on nearly every level.

What makes this documentary so moving is that it draws out, in very sharp relief, the eternal tension we all have as individuals and as a society between choosing love and choosing fear-- and rarely does the right choice seem so unclear as it does here.

After all, it's all well and good to say "love thy neighbor" when you're talking about neighbors as abstract entities, but what happens when your Christian community is actually confronted with a strange set of outsiders who walk your streets and sleep in the town's parking lots? How do you react when they seem like scary and violent intruders, the source of crime and chaos in your formerly sleepy Northern town? Then, suddenly, the teachings of Jesus must be rendered unambiguous: are these proclamations to "do unto others" just nice-sounding but impractical platitudes, or are they words to live and act by even when (especially when?) they are difficult?

We find this out when the protagonist of the documentary, a small-town pastor in a newly-booming oil town in North Dakota, bravely tries to go far beyond just 'talking the talk' with regards to living out the Bibical teachings. By providing refuge and food to those who have no other place to turn, his church floors become flooded with destitute men and women who have spent their last pennies making their way up to this otherwise desolate land in search of the rumored well-paying jobs that can save their families, salvage their broken lives, and restore their faith in America. These "overnighters" have nothing, and rely on the pastor's kindness to survive until they find the jobs they desperately seek. But they also come with their own problems-- problems that the rest of the town isn't eager to deal with.

Over time, we find that this well-meaning man of God-- who is resolutely chained to the idea that he must not simply repeat the ideas of Jesus, but truly live them out-- must travel alone in his journey to do the Lord's work. And it is a path he will pay very dearly to walk.

*spoiler alert* He soon finds, like Jesus himself, that all those who surround him will eventually turn on him; first his congregation, then his community, then the destitute overnighters he saves from the streets, and ultimately his own family. Once the final twists and turns make their way through the pastor's life, one wonders if God too has chosen to abandon him.


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