MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Sony Pictures
Directed by Alex Kendrick. Starring Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel
Alex and Stephen Kendrick are brothers who make films as a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Courageous is their fourth film, following the incredible popularity of their 2008 movie Fireproof, which connected with secular audiences as well. All of their films have solid Christian values, a message to share, and the intention of reaching the unchurched with hope and encouragement.
Courageous is an episodic film that examines the lives of four deputies in a small town sheriff’s department and their mutual realization that regardless of how hard they work to make life safer for their community, they also need to be good fathers to their children. Writer-director Alex Kendrick plays Adam, the main character in this movie, and he has improved as an actor over the years; you genuinely care about his frustration as he misses the signals that his kids are sending him about wanting more time together. When an unexpected tragedy strikes his family, Adam has to reconsider what is most important in his life.
Along with Adam’s family, we see Nathan (Bevel) try to keep his daughter from getting too involved with an older gang member by showing an interest in “the purpose of the relationship”. There is also a moving and even humorous account about how God is at work behind the scenes to lead Javier (Robert Amaya) to gainful employment, along with other interesting subplots.
Family values are front-and-center and Courageous earns its five halos.
Here are my minor quibbles with this entertaining and inspirational film:
1. All of the women are valiant partners who “stand by their men”; it is a given that all these guys have to do is clean up their acts and all will be well on the home front. Most Christian homes have more shared leadership than we see in this film.
2. Without exception, once Adam decides to make a firmer commitment to his family by signing a resolution (not that different from the list of qualities championed by Promise Keepers), all of the other guys are on board. It would have been more realistic to have at least one of the men opt out of this pledge, if only to see what difference it would make.
3. The Resolutionä itself. This is the gimmick to this film (similar to Fireproof’s “The Love Dare”) that is part of the curriculum program devised for local church use. I found this pledge to be too detailed and prescriptive, almost Pharisaic in its enumeration. A simple refresher course on the marriage vows would have worked for me. But I guess you’ll have to ask my wife if it has!
Five halos: This is a family-friendly film that is focused on the importance of family, especially fathers who can take the time to be there for their children; there is also a testimony to the importance of Jesus Christ.
One pitchfork: Some scenes with violence and implied drug use.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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