This cements for me the opinion that religion should not be forced on children.
The main character is a disco-dancing champion and lead attraction in the ‘cool church’ run by her stepfather. They clearly know what they have in her as a sales tool – she’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s sexy, she’s fit, and yet she carries with her an air of piety and purity. Good catch-all for getting people through the door. And once they’re there, it’s full on 80s kareoke style hymn singing and show-girl disco dancing. Which makes people feel like they really got something for their money when it comes collection time.
Of course it’s all bullshit. Her stepfather is an abusive arsehole, gaslighting her mother and creepily sexually predatory around his stepkid.
The main character develops some mix of anxiety and depression which causes her to start having panic attacks during her disco-dancing championship performances, which then snowballs with the condemnation from her family that this failure indicates a lack of faith and closeness to God.
Throughout this film, you are just begging for this girl to meet a sane person. Someone who will say you can’t pray away a mental illness. You’re in an abusive, exploitative cult. Your family is bonkers.
But she’s been very thoroughly isolated and the only people she knows outside her little cult, are other religious extremists who are trying to fish from the same pool of devotees. In the end she only manages to exchange one set of ecstatics for another.