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The Overnighters

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Jesse Moss

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About the Movie

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck under the lure of the oil boom. However, busloads of newcomers chasing a broken American Dream step into the stark reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. The town lacks the infrastructure to house the overflow of migrants, even for those who do find gainful employment. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is driven to deliver the migrants some dignity. Night after night, he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” (as he calls them) to stay for a night, a week or longer. They sleep on the floor, in the pews and in their cars in the church parking lot. Many who take shelter with Reinke are living on society’s fringes and with checkered pasts, and their presence starts affecting the dynamics of the small community. The congregants begin slinging criticism and the City Council threatens to shut the controversial Overnighters program down, forcing the pastor to make a decision which leads to profound consequences that he never imagined. Director Jesse Moss' award-winning documentary The Overnighters engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor” and the resistance that one small community feels when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers. The Boston Globe raves that The Overnighters is "one of the best documentaries of the year."


Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 66
  • Fresh: 65
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 8.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Filmmaker Jesse Moss frames his shots beautifully; the landscapes look like Andrew Wyeth paintings. – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly, Oct 11, 2014

Fresh: It's the rare documentary in which truly unpredictable events unfold and no assumption is safe. – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times, Oct 31, 2014

Fresh: So much of "The Overnighters" tells all sorts of truths, and Moss earned the trust of his subjects, whatever they might think of the result. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Nov 13, 2014

Fresh: Moss was basically a one-man production crew, which explains how he was able to film such intimate, painful conversations. His work is haunting - one of the best documentaries of the year. – David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 23, 2014

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


amazing and beautiful film!

Amazing doc!

Highly recommend! Really timely subject matter and surprisingly witty and entertaining too…and what an unexpected ending!

Reality Shock!!!

Get ready to be slapped in the face by a very depressing reality! There really isn't any upside to this movie other than you hope your life has been a bit easier than the folks in this movie...yikes!

Almost every character is haunted by personal (and real demons) with no end in sight. Probably the best takeaway from this movie is a question we all need to ask ourselves...what is the best way to handle, support, rehabilitate, not be scared of, love and whatever other thoughts come to mind regarding troubled people (neighbors) that struggle with whatever demon they possess (ie drug addiction, alcoholism, bad luck, etc).

I don't have an answer, but I know after watching this movie that I have a different perspective, mixed emotions and some thoughts on how society has and continues to deal with these folks that have for whatever reason been dealt a brutal hand.

A must watch??? I don't know, but worth a discussion with whomever you watch it with after it ends...

The Overnighters
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2014

Customer Ratings