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Mr. Church (2016)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 16 September 2016 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer

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"Mr. Church" tells the story of a unique friendship that develops when a little girl and her dying mother retain the services of a talented cook - Henry Joseph Church. What begins as a six month arrangement instead spans into fifteen years and creates a family bond that lasts forever.



2,904 ( 275)
3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Larson
Izzy (as McKenna Grace)
Young Charlie
Young Poppy
Young Owen
Kathleen McMartin ...
Mrs. Dickerman
Sara Shearer ...


"Mr. Church" tells the story of a unique friendship that develops when a little girl and her dying mother retain the services of a talented cook - Henry Joseph Church. What begins as a six month arrangement instead spans into fifteen years and creates a family bond that lasts forever.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was the one person she could always count on.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 September 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cook  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$338,378, 16 September 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$685,143, 23 October 2016
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Eddie Murphy was replacing Samuel L. Jackson, who was meant to play Mr. Church first. See more »


When Charlie is driving away after Mr Church has kicked her out, she passes a 60 mph speed limit sign. During the time frame of this movie, the national speed limit was limited to 55 mph. See more »


Charlie: My Mama had been the sun to me. I basked in her warmth. I remember wanting to wake up in the morning just to see her. But now that sun was on fire, seemed to burn everything in sight. If I got too close, my skin stung. But Mr. Church, he could walk right through her blaze without so much as a singe. He was like the moon. Cool, calm, and always there. So I learned to turn away from the sun, and face the moon.
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References The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »


Blue Monday
Written by Jill Answell
Courtesy of de Wolfe Music
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User Reviews

Eddie Murphy's surprising come-back in a predictable tearjerker.
13 December 2016 | by See all my reviews

"The wise son seeketh the father's instruction, but the scorner heareth not rebuke. I don't give a sh*t."

The quote above is, believe it or not, pronounced at a given moment by Mr. Church (Eddie Murphy) while he was drunk. Apparently alcohol has such an impact on him that he starts to use a vocabulary in such a way, an ordinary mortal can only guess the ultimate significance of what he's saying. This was also the first time I totally didn't understand what Eddie Murphy was talking about at that very moment (maybe it's due to my limited knowledge of English). In "Mr. Church"you'll see a totally different Murphy at work. No smooth talking and witty one-liners. Don't expect to hear that catchy, infamous laugh from him. Not once it'll echo through the living room. Nope, here he puts himself in the shoes of a gentle, helpful and warmhearted cook who tries to accomplish a given task with conviction and empathy.

This task was entrusted to him by Richard Cannon. He was once the lover of Marie Brody (Natascha McElhone) who left him after discovering that he was already married. However, he promised that he would always take care of her. Even after his death. If it turns out that Marie is terminally ill and only has six months to live, her daughter Charlie (Natalie Coughlin) discovers one morning there's a "black man" making breakfast in their kitchen. And from that day on Mr. Chruch conjures delicious dishes out of his culinary magic hat. So, you can expect a whole series of hunger-arousing images. It's almost similar to a Jamie Oliver TV show. Afterwards we come to know that Marie is still fighting her terminal illness after six years. Church's role as family cook slowly disappears into the background and over time he becomes the paterfamilias and acts as a father figure to Charlotte (Britt Robertson).

Here, where I live, the remark after watching this movie would be "Wow, what a lovely film this was!". Granted, it's packed with cliché elements as used in any melodramatic coming of age film. The course is extremely predictable. Not much imagination is needed to realize that the roles will be reversed at any given time and how it's going to end. Both at the beginning and at the end they used the same text fragment "Henry Joseph Church could have been anything he wanted. He chose to cook.". A subtle clue pointing at the cyclical nature of the film. But despite being a typical tearjerker, this film was able to captivate and fascinate me. Maybe because from time to time I need to watch a more positive film. Most films are about the evil side of a person. This film is about loyalty, affection, offering some help during hard times and the importance of family ties. You can start whining again about the possible racist tone and thus seeing Mr. Church as the happy, cheerful house negro who serves a white family. A kind of modern "Uncle Tom" in other words. It didn't feel like that for me. And I'm convinced you missed the essence of the story.

But what's Mr.Church's big secret, anyway? He loves jazz. That's clear from the first moment. He's probably a jazz pianist. I noticed that he was pretending to play a piano on his knees while smoking a cigarette outside and listening to a jazz song in the background. He also mentioned it in a subtle way to Marie. And his visits to the nightclub Jelly (Charlie discovered this by accident when she was driving around the city with Poppy), a neon-lit bar you instantly have feelings about that it's a jazz club, seemed to me the appropriate place to find an audience for his talent. He paints, reads literature and uses secret ingredients while cooking. But are these really such big secrets that one should remain silent about it? Hearing what Mr. Church said when he came home drunk ("Yeah, that's right! I'm a sinner! Who's a fagot? You the goddamn fagot. "), I have a feeling it's more about his sexual orientation.

It stays a secret all the way. Nothing but praise for Eddie Murphy who attempts to get rid of his stand-up comedian label. And he succeeds perfectly. It's a pleasure to see him playing the two opposing Mr. Churches. On the one hand a dutiful and human figure. On the other a tormented person who still hasn't come to terms with his past. Also the acting of both Natascha McElhone as Britt Robertson can be called excellent. Especially the moments with Murphy and McElhone are sublime. Maybe it all feels a bit corny and old-fashioned. But it still remains a lovely film.

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