Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Courageous Movie Review
Let me start by letting you know that shortly after I became a Christian, I found myself unable to enjoy the comedy clubs, music and movies that I had once loved. It hit me one day that I had to put all those things away that were not glorifying to God…the crude humor, immoral innuendo, blasphemy and lyrics that promoted sin. Although I was dedicated to my new Lord, (I did put the stuff away), I reacted like Lot’s wife, turning back and looking…somewhat lamenting the loss of “fun” in my life. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never again enjoy jokes, movies or music.
Leave it to the Kendrick brothers to blow away that notion! One of the highlights of the movie, Courageous, is the side splitting humor sprinkled throughout, all of it clean and gentle. No one’s feelings have to be hurt by sarcasm for a joke to be funny, and gross vulgarities are not only unnecessary, but they truly ruin a good time.
In Courageous, we join a group of 4 sheriff’s deputies and a manual laborer named Javier. These men face daily dilemmas related to job and family and learn to rely on each other and God in this inspiring, but humorous flick. How will they respond when the ultimate tragedy befalls one of them?
But this review is not just about the entertainment value of Courageous, but rather the spiritual value. Let’s use three measuring sticks (you could pick several others, I’m sure), to try to judge the merit of this movie. Ultimately, the question is, should you spend the resources God has provided you with to see this flick? Or would your money be better spent elsewhere…there is certainly need all around us.
Here are the three criteria we will use to discern the worth of Courageous in order of importance.
1.Is God glorified?
2.Will the movie tempt someone to sin?
3.Is there a practical application to the lessons learned within?
I will consider them in reverse order:
Is there a practical application to the lessons learned within?
The basic setting of Courageous is the life of a few families, specifically the men of the families in a town in Georgia. These men are police officers, who are joined by a manual laborer friend as well. The meaningful dialogue creates meaningful character development as they go through day to day life, both on the job and at home. You really get a sense quickly for each character’s personality.
One side plot of the movie is the gang related activity. Although I will highly recommend this movie, I would not call it “kid-friendly.” There are scenes where drug paraphernalia is depicted, as well as a brutal gang-initiation. It is done well, in the sense that the idea is depicted without gratuitous violence or mimicked drug use, but I would not take a child under 13 to this movie due to that content. I’d say if you are ready to talk to your child about drugs and gang violence, it is up to you, but some of the scenes could be scary for more sensitive children.
But the gang activity is necessary for the story, and they do a brilliant job of tying together the characters in relationships that are believable. Ultimately, the message that comes across is the importance of a father in the life of children.
Just like the Love Dare in Fireproof, the main character in the movie ends up with a set of “Resolutions.” Resolving to be a biblical father and husband, the main character, Adam Mitchell offers examples of repentance for missed opportunities, and redemption in this life as he strives to make amends for his errant ways. These “Resolutions” will definitely be a best-seller, and with a September 30 release, expect lots of Christmases to be chock full of Courageous Resolutions.
Finally, there is a one on one presentation of the gospel which was of such quality as could be used for training. Without compromising a shred of truth, Nathan Hayes (Michael, Kirk Cameron’s friend in Fireproof) shares the plan of redemption in Christ alone with his partner David Thomson. But while sharing the message and confronting David’s sin, Nathan doesn’t lack any of the compassion and love that we are commanded to have when giving a defense for what we believe with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
Will the movie tempt someone to sin?
Now we all have different sin-tendencies, I know, but I can only speak of a few of the more obvious ones. I suppose it is possible that a person with a problem with a “gang history” could somehow get excited about his or her old life…but I don’t see it that way. I see the depiction of the life being authentic enough to get the idea, while not glorifying the lifestyle in any way.
None of the main characters engages in smoking, drinking or drug use. The references to drugs are never exalted, and the women in the movie are all modestly dressed throughout, except for one scene toward the end where a woman’s shirt was possibly a little too low cut. I am also one of the more conservative people I know in the area of modesty…so many people may not even notice.
Courageous does not glorify sin nor does it provide temptation for someone to sin. In contrast to the other “Christian-value” movie which is being marketed for now, (Soul Surfer), Courageous offers no feeding of the flesh. Carnal minded men and women will not find satisfaction for their lusts here. To be able to enjoy a movie without having to cover your ears and eyes is rare, and Courageous refreshes the soul in this way.
Is God glorified?
I have wondered on occasion how to truly judge a movie. I wonder if God actually likes any story, where Jesus is not the center; the protagonist; the ultimate victor. It has made me disinterested in even secular stories of success where God is not glorified.
Courageous makes an overt point of being Christ-centered, Bible-directed and God loving. The message of the movie that faith in Christ alone is the only provision for forgiveness of sins is clearly stated. And the “great contradiction” is that this movie attacks the secular view of fatherhood and family by setting the standard for fatherhood based on the Bible. I believe that men and women who are not born-again will enjoy this movie because of the universal Truth contained therein. The biblical principles laid out will resonate in the hearts of people everywhere who want to love their kids more, treat their wife better and lead and protect their family in the best way possible. The hope and prayer of course, is that while some people came just to see a good movie, they will leave with their life changed, with sufficient knowledge to start a reconciled relationship with God through Christ.
Should you go see Courageous? Yes. Please do. Be a good steward of your money and spend it on the advancement of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16) by supporting this movie, and the good people who God has gifted to produce such a masterpiece. Buy tickets for friends and relatives, both saved and unsaved, and don’t forget Dad – tickets go on sale June 19, Father’s Day.
Note: We would like to thank our good friend and ministry supporter, Michael Coughlin, for providing this excellent review for our readers. We look forward to bringing you much more information on this wonderful ministry opportunity. Check out our "Courageous Weekend" Outreach, which aims to purchase entire showings of this movie for law enforcement.