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"The Last Sin Eater": Christ Is the One, True Savior

Based on a book by Francine Rivers, The Last Sin Eater is set in Appalachia in the 1800s. When Welsh immigrants settled in America, they brought along an ancient Celtic ritual known as "the Sin Eater." When someone within the community died, the Sin Eater would come and absolve the deceased person by eating a symbolic meal—often comprised of bread and wine—that was set alongside the corpse.

Cadi Forbes (Liana Liberato) is a young girl who feels responsible for the death of her younger sister. She longs to be forgiven, so she seeks out the Sin Eater (Peter Wingfield). Once she finds him, she pleads with him to take her sins, insisting that she can't go on living with the hurt inside her. The Sin Eater, though reluctant, ultimately agrees to do the ceremony.

Cadi lies on the ground, covered with a shroud, bread and wine on her chest.

The Sin Eater asks, "Tell me what sin it is that grieves you so."

"Did my Granny tell you her sins before she passed?" she asked.

"No," he replied.

"Then, if it's all right with you, I'd rather not say my sins aloud."

The Sin Eater eats the bread and drinks the wine, saying, "I give easement now to thee, Cadi Forbes, that you might live a long and full life, and for thy peace I pawn my own soul."

He then hurries away and waits in the distance.

Cadi opens her eyes. Disappointed, she cries, "Nothing's changed! I feel the same!"

"I'm sorry, dear child," says the Sin Eater.

"Please," she begs, "you have to tell me: how do I get rid of what I've done?"

"I wish I knew, Cadi Forbes!" he screams. "I wish I knew!"

Later in the film, a stranger the townspeople call the man of God (Henry Thomas) has arrived. In this second scene, Cadi meets him for the first time down by the river. He asks her why she is so burdened and if he can possibly help. She tells him if the Sin Eater can't help her no one can. Cadi tells the man of God what she has done and why she feels such guilt. He assures her that nothing she has done could make the Lord love her any more or any less.

"Cadi," he says as he clutches a Bible, "there are some sorrows so deep that only God can touch them. No mere man can take away your sins, child. You see, there's already been a sin eater, the original sin eater that the Lord God sent a long, long time ago. He was sent to take away all of our sins, once and for all. And this book tells all about him."

"Will you tell the sin eater how sorry I am?" Cadi asks. "Will you ask him to forgive me?"

"Beautiful girl, you just did. Now your heart is washed clean of all the black marks this world or you have ever given it."

As she hugs the man of God, she asks, "Does he have a name?"

"Yes," replies the man of God, "his name is Jesus."

This film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some intense sequences of violence.

Elapsed time for first scene: DVD scene 11; 00:48:32–00:50:35

Elapsed time for second scene: DVD scene 14; 01:01:05–01:02:33

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