Dirt track racing churns up the drama in the new faith-based film Champion. Champion depicts race car driver Sean Weathers’ journey following a tragic on-track accident that rips apart his family, leaving him vulnerable to the last person on earth who should help him.
As a tenant of the Christian faith, forgiveness is the underlying theme of many Christian movies. Champion attempts to tackle the topic of forgiveness in a highly impactful way. A racetrack tragedy connects arrogant driver Sean Weathers (played by Andrew Cheney) and Jack Reed, a grieving father (played by Gary Graham). They must find their way from tragedy to healing, a journey much like the trip around the dirt track–full of thrills and risks.
The story becomes more complex than a simple forgive-and-forget plot. Writers Missy Reed and Sarah Inabnit add relational twists as the movie progresses. Sometimes building these storylines drags on a bit, but by the movie’s end, viewers will be emotionally involved enough to tear-up during the conflict resolutions.
Champion handles the gospel message beautifully. Grace is highlighted–receiving God’s forgiveness when we don’t deserve it. It is modeled in the plot and plainly explained in the dialogue. Watching this movie will ensure that viewers will hear what it means to ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. They will also see what it looks like when forgiveness is both received and offered. These are emotional and impactful scenes.
The importance of family is another key theme in the movie. Particular emphasis is placed on being a good father. Since this is a movie about dirt track racing, it should be a draw for men. Fatherly words of wisdom are woven throughout the movie. Dads will have some takeaways from this racing film like, “Don’t ever let your ambition become more important than raising your kid.”
Director Judd Brannon also uses the film to emphasize the importance of foster parenting. He and his wife are foster parents. It is also a part of the heart of their church culture at FBC Woodstock. In the film, the faith of a foster family helps a young child thrive during the separation from her family. It makes the world of foster parenting look too sweet compared to the realities some families face–almost fairy tale fostering. But it is inspiring to see the positive impact one family can have in the life of an at-risk child.
Andrew Cheney and Gary Graham bear the weight of the acting honorably. Both are required to swing from joy to sorrow and handle it well. Comic relief is offered from Robert Amaya (Courageous, Mom’s Night Out). It is the cheesy variety and can be endured to get to the better, emotional scenes in the last third of the movie. Faith Renee Kennedy is a delight in the movie. She isn’t too cute or precocious but wears her dimples with just the right amount of charm.
Champion is a quality faith-based film. It provides a platform for believers to introduce the gospel to friends and family. Dads are encouraged to remain engaged in their kids’ lives. It reminds us all how precious God’s grace is. All the loose ends tie up nicely so we can see that, “We may not be able to understand it now, but God has a plan in the pain.”
This inaugural film from Brannon Pictures is produced with support from First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA. FBC’s pastor Johnny Hunt has been chaplain of Dixie Speedway for the past twenty-five years. Champion opens in select theaters May 19. Ministry kits are available at ChampionTheMovie.com.