‘GOD’S NOT DEAD’ (2014)

August 22, 2014 Rissi JC 15 Comments

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. 

‘GOD’S NOT DEAD’ (2014). A college freshman challenges his professor to a debate of whether or not God lives. All text © Rissi JC

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.

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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

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Shannon August 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    We've liked Shane Harper since he played Spencer on Good Luck Charlie! God's Not Dead is a good movie! One that everyone I know who has seen it has enjoyed it and told every one of their family and friends to go see it!

    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Rissi August 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      That's awesome, Shannon! I love that so many people have seen this and seem willing to give it a try anyway – the message is one all of us need to hear. :)

      Same to you – happy weekend. Glad it's here.

  • Rachel Hoyt August 22, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    I feel the same! :) The message is well conveyed, and THE ENDING, I so didn't see that coming. I agree that I won't watch it a bunch of times, but I'm glad I did. I even cried a couple of times. :)

    • Rissi August 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      It is indeed (which is awesome since it's one we all need to hear) and YES. Oh, my goodness. I did not see that coming so I was watching it expecting it to wrap up any minute and then… wow. Quite an impacting way to conclude, I'd say. Glad you liked it as well – I'm sure I'll see it again, just not as a "binge-watch." Thanks for visiting, Rachel. :)

  • Ella August 22, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I really enjoyed watching this movie. I want to re-watch it soon:)

    • Rissi August 22, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Glad you enjoyed it, Ella. I did too, it's just not one I'll probably watch TONS just because when I watch a movie, most times I like a more lighthearted approach. That being said, I did think "God's Not Dead" was very well done and it's certainly something I'd loan/recommended to fellow movie watchers. :)

  • Mrs. Pedersen August 22, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    I really enjoyed the movie. The acting was pretty good, sans a few cheesy parts. However, I really thought the ending was great! It may have also appealed to my Newboys ;fangirling days;. Ha! ;)

    • Rissi August 22, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      Well said, Heather. I agree; I thought everything was nicely done and for the most part, yes, the acting was great – especially from the leading two men. The ending WAS great, certainly made its point, it was just… unexpected.

      How fun! Newsboys weren't a band I listened to a lot, but I did enjoy how they were brought into the film and the titular song was fantastic. :)

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com August 23, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I gotta rent this asap.

    • Rissi August 26, 2014 at 12:48 AM

      You most definitely do, Juju. Enjoy whenever you see it. :)

  • Bekah M. August 24, 2014 at 4:49 AM

    I was actually going to watch this tonight but decided on Amazing Spider-Man 2 instead… haha. I am a little wary of christian films as well but I definitely want to check this one out. Great review, Rissi! Oh, and by the way I am loving the changes to your website!! It looks awesome!

    • Rissi August 26, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      I don't blame you, Bekah… because Spider-Man 2 has to be awesome. I still have to watch that one but it's sitting with my other DVD's, so I'll have to get to it this weekend. Cannot wait. As for God's Not Dead, I hope you enjoy it. It's really a good (at least) one time watch. :)

      …thanks! I'm still not 100% on this layout since the demo looked different than how it turned out, but I'll play with it for a while and at least it's operational – and if I need to go back to the oldie, I have that saved. :)

  • Kara August 25, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it last week – it was very inspirational for my whole family and it had a very unexpected ending!

    • Rissi August 26, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      Ditto. That ending, Kara… oh my word. I was not expecting that. Glad you enjoyed the movie – I did too. :)

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