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The Book of Clarence Review: Tries To Do Too Much

The Book of Clarence tries to do too much in that it wants to be a biblical comedy, drama, and love story, but rarely succeeds at any genre.

The Book Of Clarence movie review

Pontius Pilate (James McAvoy) and Clarence (Lakeith Stanfield) in THE BOOK OF CLARENCE.

The Book of Clarence is a new take on a well known biblical story. Transported back to Jerusalem during the times of Jesus, viewers follow Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) as he deals with times of struggle and becoming captivated by the rising Messiah. The movie itself tries to do too much in terms of story and genre, however there are few gems that really work, including an extremely talented cast who elevate the film with their incredible performances — LaKeith being at the center of that.

Just taking a look at the trailer, it is clear that The Book of Clarence takes the set pieces and costumes seriously. It very much feels like we are in biblical times, which makes it easy to believe the story we are being told. The main issue lies in that there is so much going on, it can be confusing at times. Audiences will feel uncertain of what type of film they are in. Clocking in at over two hours in length doesn’t help either, as things often drag on for a bit longer than they should.

The Book Of Clarence movie review

That being said, the cast, led by LeKeith Stanfield, is fantastic. They do what they can with the script and direction they were given, bringing forth some great comedic and dramatic moments. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it really does.

James McAvoy, who plays Pontius Pilate, makes for a great antagonist for LaKeith. The two are an absolute joy to watch together. Really, the cast as a whole is outstanding. Each bringing something to the table that makes the film better.

The Book of Clarence walks the line between satire and seriousness, with important lessons to be taught, but in a humorous way. That is where it looses itself sometimes, causing viewers to question what they should be feeling, and what type of film they are watching. 

The Book Of Clarence movie review

LaKeith Stanfield leads the cast as best as he can, clearly being the standout among several talented actors. The main issue lies in that this movie often feels like a parody and a satire, but every once in a while it makes you feel as if it is going a more serious route, which leads to confusion. Some viewers will lose interest as they go back and forth between genres for over tow hours. Some will have a, mostly, good time while doing so.

The Book of Clarence can be a tedious watch at times, but there is just enough humor and incredible performances mixed in to make it worth checking out. While it struggles to find itself at times, it does offer some food for thought and some laugh out loud moments. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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The Book of Clarence poster

About The Book of Clarence

Streetwise but down-on-his-luck, Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) is struggling to find a better life for his family, while fighting to free himself of debt. Captivated by the power and glory of the rising Messiah and His apostles, he risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life, and ultimately discovers that the redemptive power of belief may be his only way out.

The Book of Clarence is now available to take home on Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital.

The Book Of Clarence Bonus Features

  • Commentary with Jeymes Samuel & LaKeith Stanfield
  • Band of Brothers: Meet the Cast
  • Song of Songs: An Epic Collaboration
  • The Gospel of Jeymes: On The Set with Jeymes Samuel
  • Book 4: Making the Film – Gag Reel