This was one of those movies recommended by more than one family member. When it finally came out, despite my shaky opinions on certain Christian films, I did see it. The question that then remains is, how does this one shake out?
God’s Not Dead (2014) Film Review
Incoming college freshman, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) has no expectation that his philosophy class is about to be the biggest challenge to his faith. His girlfriend has plans for them. Josh is going to law school and their six year romance is going to turn into “forever” in her timeline. Much to the dismay of Kara (Cassidy Griffin), Josh accepts a debate proposal from his atheist teacher, Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). The challenge is to take up the debate of whether or not God is dead. Josh takes the stance that God is NOT dead – something his professor believes, proof positive when he requests his class write “God is dead.” When Josh stands against this request, Radisson is none too thrilled to be questioned.
In his quest to prove God does live and to convince a “jury” of his own peers that Professor Radisson’s claim is false, the lives of Amy Ryan (Trisha LaFache), Mina and Marc Shelley (Cory Oliver, Dean Cain), Ayisha (Hadeel Sittu) Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) and Martin (Paul Kwo) intersect. This leads to a powerful closing argument, and a revolution of awakened belief among many.
While I can respect their messages and the journey they take to bridge the gap between Christianity and entertainment, too many Christian films fall flat for me. Maybe this is because I expect so much more of them. Perhaps this why I’m a little bit shy to support some of them. This movie falls among those that do live up to expectations. Anyone who has seen To Save a Life will thoroughly enjoy this and it’s not beyond hoping that God’s Not Dead reaches the audience who desperately need to hear this.
FILM REVIEW | ‘GRACE UNPLUGGED’ (2013)‘GOD’S NOT DEAD’ (2014) #FWarchives #Movies Click To Tweet
The film (as a production) has some flaws, but its message is what needs to be heard and I don’t think the distractions take away from this. There’s a ton of characters we meet in a short span of time; most of whom have no relevant connection to each other (far as we, the viewer know). Of course, eventually, there are connections and we understand more of their purpose in the story. Short on character development, what this zooms in on is the idea of God’s existence. For Josh, that’s an impossible task to prove, yet easy to believe. Through this he sticks up for his faith without letting intimidation or fear shake him and Who he believes in.
For the most part, the acting is good. Shane does a good job in the role of Josh and the supporting cast is equally compelling. There’s some particularly moving scenes with some of the secondary characters and how they react to the things that go wrong. One of which is a woman who has never had need of God. Each of the three lectures are very well written, and make valid points, but it’s really the last that is the heart changer. Plus, the ending proper is something I didn’t see coming. The writers go for something drastic, and while I don’t have a problem with it, the movie will leave viewers with a sense of melancholy.
If you like films that take up the task of shining a light on Christianity, do watch God’s Not Dead. I’m not sure it will be something I’ll watch on repeat, but I’m not sorry to have seen it. The artistic delivery doesn’t carry the same impact, but it features a hero who isn’t afraid to stand alone. That message alone is one that needs to be shared. And for many of us, something we need to LIVE.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)
You can find God’s Not Dead digitally on Amazon Video