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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Some violence and drug content.
Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Kevin Downes, Ben Davies, Rusty Martin, Rusty Martin Sr., T.C. Stallings, Eleanor Brown, Matt Hardwick
Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives.
Courageous (2011) | Review
Encouraging Dads to Shine
So it is with curiosity and delight that we take in films like Courageous, a new movie by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. After seeing recent polls that show the church lagging behind sports, education, and movies in cultural influence, the company was created to make the Church more influential in people's lives and to communicate the gospel without compromise. They have produced four films to date, including Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel.
The latest film details the lives of four police officers who are dedicated to protecting the people of their town. They are strong and determined in this challenge, and yet the most difficult job they face is the one that occurs when they're off-duty—being a father. Each of the men faces a challenge in their role as father that he must acknowledge and work through. Numerous themes are explored throughout the movie, including divorce, children out of wedlock, dating, gangs, unemployment, work ethic, accountability, respect for authority, the importance of humor, and male/female relations.
Why is it so strange to see a man talking with God, or praying with some friends? Why does it sound so foreign to hear the name of Jesus Christ spoken in a respectful way, not a blasphemous way? How often do we see a man crying on film? Reading the Bible to his family? Or leading his friend to Christ in a frank conversation? These things seem rare to us because they are. Even though millions of Americans do and see these things on any given day, they are almost non-existent on film. Why? There's not enough companies like Sherwood Pictures, that's why.
When we decide what to go to the movies to watch on any given weekend, why do we choose what we choose? This is not a simple question. There are lots of factors, including who we are going with, what our mood is at that moment, what we've heard from others, what we've seen in the media about a movie, who is in the movie, what we think the movie will be like, film reviews, ratings, or simply what the movie poster looks like. How often do we consider our spiritual wellbeing? How often do we ask ourselves what impact fifty instances of profanity will have on us, or five fatal scenes of violence, or three examples of pre-marital or extra-marital sex? What we experience on screen certainly affects us, for better or worse, directly and indirectly. Personally, when I go to the cinema, I want to watch a film that will move and inspire me. But perhaps I should remember that I also want entertainment that will better me and not be a hindrance to my relationship with God.
Courageous, and other films like it, go beyond mere entertainment. Their goal is life change. That speaks to the true power of movies. Sure, they can entertain us. They can make us laugh and cry. They can scare us and haunt us and surprise us. But they can also change us! Courageous wants to help dads become better role models, better examples, better leaders. It shows us how it's done through the story of these four men. Alex Kendrick, who plays lead dad Adam Mitchell, also wrote and directed the film. Near the end of the film, he speaks at a service in his local church, challenging the men of the congregation—and us—to go beyond good enough and become great men who serve, protect, and lead our families. It is an important challenge, one that will have far-reaching effects if we choose to accept it.
Copyright © 2011 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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