I'm a movie buff. Don't believe me? Check out my other blog . I think I fell in love with film back in Queens New York when I went to see Little Shop of Horrors with my father. Witnessing fantastic puppetry, acting, and music all in one sitting delightfully overwhelmed my senses.
Film has come leaps and bounds since then and now a new genre of film is hitting mainstream: Christian/Spiritual Film. While there are plenty of Christian actors like Megan Good and Tyler Perry, there are some like Kirk Cameron who will only perform in films that are directed specifically toward the Christian demographic. His choice certainly doesn't discount the faith of other Christian actors however, it does make his commitment to Christ quite clear.
Last year, I had the pleasure of watching Fireproof. It told the story of a marriage that was redeemed through faith and of course God. The movie had moments that I could relate to with ease, most of them sadly being the lowest points of the depicted marriage. As many of you may know, my marriage never found redemption and eventually came to and end. So the low points were the only points I could identify with and the high points were interesting because I know nothing about those. The message was clear and I enjoyed the film so much that I decided to purchase it sometime later.
Later, God's Not Dead came out. I will say that this film had great potential. Some of it was great however, some of it fell flat for me. First, I am not a fan of Kevin Sorbo due to racist remarks he has made in the past (I get that Christianity is about forgiveness and the irony of my statement doesn't escape me). Second, I felt that Kevin Sorbo's character while understandable in his renouncing religion realized a very unrealistic outcome at the end of the film. I get what was trying to be done, but I didn't find it to be realistic. That's often the problem with Christian film, there are unrealistic outcomes but they are validated with the promise that a supernatural God can make the unlikely...possible! I suppose this is where faith comes in and depending on the viewer the faith factor may be a problem. For the non-believer, these films may seem far fetched and heavy laden with velveeta.
Recently I had a sibling Saturday night with my sister. We decided to view War Room, another Christian film that was leading in the box office for it's opening weekend. War Room tells the story of another couple who are experiencing marital woes while raising their young (and gorgeous) daughter. Mentored by one of her real estate clients, the protagonist embarks upon reclaiming her marriage, household, and relationship with her daughter utilizing the power of prayer.
This film had it's fair share of "unbelievable". For the sake of spoilers, I won't elaborate on that. What I will say is "drop that gun in Jesus' name'. You're welcome.
All improbability aside, the film was a good one. I enjoyed the wisdom, humor, and message that War Room imparted and left the film feeling like I had something to talk about which for me is a sign of decent film.
When it comes to Christian film, at the end of the day it's another genre attempting to appeal to a demographic that can appreciate it. I wonder how critics will receive such films as there are some aspects of it that in my opinion require religious conviction to appreciate. However, I'm not sure if that's fair. Science fiction is built on little fact and loads of ideas that we are encouraged to believe can happen, even if we know it can't. *cough* Jurassic Park series* cough*
So we can't dismiss an idea as far fetched just because it involves religious beliefs. If that were the case, we would never have fallen in love with the Terminator, Matrix, or heck...any movie! The purpose of film is to take viewers to a different place with the only limit being the imagination. Therefore, I applaud directors who are pushing the limits of Christian films. I'd grown tired of the slap stick Tyler Perry films. A new point of view is always welcome, and a positive message is even better.
Will Christian films take off in 2016? Well, about that faith factor again...