A new, independent comedy film released this month has an unexpected detail folded into its plot that serves as the jumping-off point for the story it aims to tell: a reverse mortgage.
“Sword of Trust,” a new independent film starring comedians Marc Maron and Jillian Bell, features the use of a reverse mortgage to explain why a deceased man’s granddaughter (played by Bell) does not inherit his home upon his death. Instead, he bequeaths to her an antique sword that he alleges, in a written note, serves as proof that the Confederacy won the American Civil War in the 1860’s.
This leads the granddaughter and her partner to try and sell the “valuable” artifact to the disgruntled owner of a pawn shop (played by Maron), but they soon discover that it is also being aggressively sought after by Civil War conspiracy theorists.
While a reverse mortgage is merely used within the story to set up some of the finer details of the plot, the film nevertheless represents the idea that foreclosure and sale of a home after the death of the borrower is a relatively common way for the transaction to be concluded, but the inclusion of a reverse mortgage in the story is only given cursory detail.
While not common, reverse mortgages do occasionally appear in feature films, including 2016’s neo-Western heist film “Hell or High Water” starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, which went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the following year’s Academy Awards.
Unlike that film, however, “Sword of Trust” does not appear to be concerned with or interested in painting a reverse mortgage as a predatory loan against a senior. It basically helps to facilitate why the borrower’s granddaughter did not have access to the home as an heir, and why she receives the titular sword instead.
“Sword of Trust” is co-written and directed by Seattle-area filmmaker Lynn Shelton, and features a 93 percent approval rating according to film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. It is now playing in select theaters on a limited release, and is also available for rental at Video On Demand (VOD) services like Amazon Video and Vudu.