The Preacher's Wife, 1996

Denzel Washington stars in this Christmas film about Dudley, a messenger from God who appears to a family, makes them see things differently, and gives them hope. It’s an updated remake of the 1947 Cary Grant film, The Bishop’s Wife.

There are a lot of things in this film I think are culturally acceptable, but insignificant details and distractions in the film. These distractions don’t seem to bother anyone except those who have read the Bible. As I stated in my review of The Bishop’s Wife, there are some details which remind me of It’s A Wonderful Life. For instance, the angel was a human who died and became an angel who has to earn his wings as Clarence does or follow an Angel Handbook as Dudley does in The Preacher’s Wife.

The Bible does say that many of us have entertained angels and were unaware of it. That’s how this movie begins. Dudley is given the assignment of helping a preacher who is busy with his pastoral duties, but is missing out on important family time. The preacher is like many of us who have a generous heart, but haven’t been listening to God.

This preacher gives all he can in every situation, but nothing is turning out as well as he planned. I think if the audience would put themselves in his place, we would wonder how we missed God. Sometimes we forget where the power for our success comes from as this preacher did.

Of course the music was magnificent. Whitney Houston has always given unbeatable performances in her films. Listening to her songs makes any story distractions go far, far away. According to, The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart and “is the best-selling gospel album of all time.”

I also loved the performance of the preacher’s mother-in-law, played by Jennifer Lewis. She played Whitney Houston’s mother, but the actresses are only six years apart in age. Interestingly, Whitney Houston’s real mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, was in the show as a choir member.

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