Child of God is on Netflix
Now “Child of God” is on Netflix.
While it isn’t the kind of film that I would usually choose to go see, the fact that it was a Secret Screening film at Fantastic Fest meant that I was already seated for the film before I knew what it was. Tim League’s passionate into for the film meant that that it was worth sticking around for.
My family is from the hills around Asheville, North Carolina. My husband loves to tell that I come from hillbilly, which, in some ways, is totally true.
My great-grandfather was a local sheriff outside of Asheville, as was his son who was killed in the line of duty.
The film “Child of God”, focuses on the character of Lester Ballard (Scott Haze). Lester loses the remander of his grip he has on reality after his family’s Tennessee land is auctioned off.
The people in the film sound like my family, the land looks like where my family lives in the hills outside of Asheville, North Carolina. The fact that film is set in the 60s doesn’t change it much from the days of my childhood in a region of the country where change comes slowly to the hollers and coves. It’s a place that’s been changed more by the end of American manufacturing jobs and the encroachment of the dangerous drug meth than by anything in popular culture.
Late in October, I was hiking up a mountain with a family friend named Moses, when he told me the reason for a cleaning that I’d always wondered about. It was a spot where his grandparents had their vegetable garden, and where he used to have a cabin that he’d built himself when he was 16.
Moses said that hunters had broken into the cabin, followed by cows who had damaged the floorboards. He talked about dousing the cabin in kerosene, then lighting it on fire and walking away. The first image that came to mind was the image of the flaming cabin from the movie.
Haze’s preformace as the mentally challenged Lester is phenominal. His method approach, involved sleeping in caves for months before shooting started, and the whole was captivating and disturbing.
Of course, part of the reason for my reaction to the film was personal. It’s no secret that getting mental health care can be a challege in the hills.
“Child of God” is a hard film to watch, but it’s a the sort of film that sticks with you for a very long time.