As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
Recently I was privileged to participate in an advanced screening of Courageous ~ the latest movie from Sherwood Pictures. You will remember Sherwood from their life-changing movie a couple of years ago called Fireproof. And after what I saw in Courageous, I think God is using another movie to deliver a powerful punch.
In Fireproof, Stephen and Alex Kendrick reminded us that marriage is a covenant. In Courageous, they remind us of the importance of fatherhood. Courageous does deliver a powerful punch and more. It’s convicting (smacks hand to forehead ~ that’s the word I was searching for when I was filling out the comment card after the movie!). Like Fireproof, it makes you think. But the real question is, how will it make you act?
Some might ask why we need a movie on this topic. Don’t fathers know how important they are? Don’t mothers know how important a father is to her children’s lives? Of course, children know how important fathers are, right? Apparently not.
The Bible tells us that God created a man and a woman and told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). The man wasn’t told to plant his seed and the woman would take care of the rest. God created a family – with a mother and a father. God placed the father at the head of the family (1 Cor. 11:3; Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:25-29). He is there to lead, to guard, to guide, and to protect. The father has a vital role in the success of a family.
Now back to Courageous… the Kendrick brothers introduce us to four police officers and we hear about their experiences with fatherhood; whether it was as fathers themselves or their relationships with their own fathers. They did a good job depicting families that exist today – families with two parents, a divorced family and a single man. One of them grew up without a father, but had a father-figure as a mentor. One is a so-so father, another is a good father, and still another is just a weekend father. We see how their individual situations have shaped their views of fatherhood. We also see varying degrees of faith, and journeys toward developing deeper faith. A little later in the movie, we are introduced to another father who really brings a lot to the story.
The major themes running through the movie are that honor does indeed begin at home and that every home needs a father. Courageous hits us hard, right out of the gate. This movie is not a chick-flick (but ladies, you may want to have a tissue or two…). But, like one of the other attendees at the screening said, of the four movies Sherwood has done, this one outdoes them all in terms of acting, action, cinematography, message, and story.
Throughout the movie we see situations that many families face on a regular basis – busy schedules, feelings of inadequacy, fear, a need to forgive, anger, and more. More importantly, we see how to handle some and not to handle others. When tragedy strikes one of the fathers, it sends him on a journey to discover what God says about fatherhood, and he eventually confronts his own mistakes as a dad.
While you may think that this alone is enough for one movie, Sherwood Pictures takes it a couple steps further. After discovering what God wants a father’s role to be, the other men want in. They put it into practice and vow to hold each other accountable. Now here’s where you expect the typical Hollywood ‘happy ending’ – so not the case in this movie. There’s more excitement to come when one of the fathers truly needs to be held accountable for his actions.
This is a movie where there is no typical Hollywood ending; but there is resolution. Each man in this story is taken on a journey; and each has a different path with a different ending. The solidifying factor is that they all commit to the journey, all are held accountable, and all find the true meaning of fatherhood.
Be prepared for a couple of amazing ‘Daddy-Daughter’ scenes – they will tug at your heart and leave a lasting impression. But also be prepared for some intense moments – remember that the main characters are police officers.
The movie initially received a rating of PG-13, but that rating has been surrendered, leaving the movie currently unrated. The initial rating was for some violence, as well as gang and drug references. These things are certainly understandable in a movie dealing with officers of the law. One thing I noted, and appreciated, was that some of the necessary violence was implied and not directly on camera. For instance, in one scene you see the police officer tackle the ‘bad guy’ on the ground. When he loses the advantage, you see the ‘bad guy’ throwing punches but you don’t see where they land. The cuts, bruises, and blood are mostly left up to your imagination. This is especially helpful in one of the defining moments of the movie. That being said, parents need to be aware that there is some violence; and there are scenes involving drugs and gang activity.
The emotions I experienced during this viewing were many. To quote Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed. I cried. It moved me.” But that does over-simplify things a bit. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have a God-given talent for being able to insert humor at just the right moment; and at just the right level.
Thank you Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Sherwood Baptist Church, the City of Albany, and the many people involved in making this film. I believe it will change many families. Most importantly, thanks be to God for the inspiration, talents, and abilities of these men and women.
Now, Don’t Let Go of the Wheel — See. The. Movie! September 30th, 2011. Buy tickets, buy a show time – do it opening weekend. Show Hollywood what types of movies really matter! For more information, visit Courageous online.
NOTE: I know there are some fatherless homes that can’t change the way they are right now for a reason. I have been there, and I understand. This is a movie review and not a judgment. However, there are some families in this position that can change, and should. See the movie. Pray about it.
One of my favorite quotes from the movie
… seek the Lord, even if it means you’re standing alone.
WHERE ARE YOU MEN OF COURAGE?
* Images provided by Courageousthemovie.com