God exists in this movie; he is not the all-loving, huggable God of the contemporary “Jesus loves me” movement. No, the God in Sympathy for Delicious has more in common with the dementedly perverse trickster of the Old Testament. And it is understandable why Dean, a Skid Row resident bound to a wheelchair, still doubts him even when he is given the power to heal. God must have a twisted sense of humor to give Dean the powers to heal others but not himself, when he needs it the most. Or could it be that God if testing Dean? If it is then why does Dean deserve his attention? Most of these questions remain unanswered. My best guess is that it is intended to be part of the mystery of God.
Dean AKA Delicious D (Christopher Thorton) is the type of man who is too proud to call himself a beggar, doesn’t mind asking more from those who give to him in sympathy, and he is eager to get off the streets, but only if it is under his own terms. Not on the terms of Father Joe (Mark Ruffalo), the man who feeds him everyday at the soup line, nor the terms of The Stain (Orlando Bloom), a narcissistic bandleader offering Dean a place in his trash metal ensemble. It is not long before Dean begins to have a following and a whole new religion seems to spurt out of Skid Row.
After Dean discovers his healing ability both men, Father Joe and the Stain, persuade Dean to use it for their own purposes. Father Joe believes it is a gift from God and that Dean should share his gift healing those in need; it doesn’t hurt that the Church could be making a buck or two out of it. The Stain also believes it is a gift from God, to rock n death metal that is. Dean is not bad at the turntables and it is not long before The Stain recruits him into his band; the believing crowd is certainly an exploitable audience. Dean is torn but his nose follows the fastest path out of Skid Row.
Lead us not into temptation (AKA money, fame, and rock n roll)
The film points out a moral note or two about such gifts. Would Dean really be that bad a person if he uses his healing powers for his own good? What if the powers come from someone else besides God? After all Dean hadn’t prayed a day in his life. It is an unusual tale of miracles and self doubt but told with a straight enough face that its peachiness does not overwhelm nor compromise character development and plot. For the most part it does well in not taking either side for most of the film although the closing scene certainly tells us where its core beliefs lie.
A special nod has to be given to Christopher Thorton, writer and lead who is actually wheelchair bound in real life and wrote this for him to act in it; to Mark Ruffalo, who’s acting is decent but makes a hell of a directorial debut; and to Orlando Bloom, who after giving us many fantastical characters, and pirates, finally unveils a hidden acting talent.