I was one of the lucky invitees to the Courageous movie premiere last June, and it was truly inspirational. Courageous is the fourth Christian family movie created by the Kendrick brothers, who also wrote and produce Flywheel, Facing The Giants, and Fireproof. Last night was the first time my husband watched the movie, and as a police officer and a father, I suspect this movie about fathers in law enforcement really affected him. He wasn’t in a hurry to return it to get the next movie on our Netflix list like he usually is. Instead, he said he wanted to hold on to it and watch the extra features.
Now that I can speak freely about the movie, I can share a little about the plot. Courageous is about four men, all police officers in Albany, Georgia, and a struggling father whom they befriend. After a shocking opener that, as a mother, made my heart stop, the movie started to reveal a bit about the five men and their family lives. Each has a very different marriage relationship, as well as different relationships with their children, ranging from being very dedicated and devoted dads, to being utterly absent from their child’s life.
Events occur that change their lives (as they do in all our lives) and one devastating event encourages one father to commit to being a better and husband. Most of these men had horrible fathers, and felt that sticking around made them a “good enough” dad, but their new Fatherhood Resolution made them realize that being a good enough dad is not being a good dad. What is good enough? Being better than the person standing next to you? You are either a good father, or you aren’t, and being one step ahead of a horrible father doesn’t make you a good man, or a good father, or a good husband.
The movie is suspenseful, and everything I expected to happen, didn’t. The things I didn’t see coming in this Christian family movie, those are the things that happened. Like life. We don’t always see what is coming, but it’s how we react to things, and the people we are and become, that matters in the end.
I didn’t expect to find Courageous in theaters near me (I had an impossible time finding Fireproof, even though it starred Kirk Cameron, because New York City is not big on Christian family movies, even those that are expected to be successful, and they are especially not big on Christian movies that promote a happy marriage or a covenant marriage). I had to wait for it to come out on dvd to watch the Kendrick’s brothers fabulous Fireproof movie, or else drive almost two hours to the closest theater offering it for viewing (in a city with thousands of movie theaters).
I watched all four movies from Sherwood Pictures now, and I love them all. I really can’t pick a favorite from among these four Christian movies, because the themes are so different. Each focuses on teaching men to be better men, building a happy marriage, strong family, and most importantly, having strong character and living a life of integrity. Otherwise, they are quite different:
Flywheel is a Christian movie about a crooked man whose son’s shame encourages him to straighten up his life. He was a dishonest car salesman who even scammed his pastor, and he becomes a man who is so willing to give up his life for Christ that he accepts anything, even financial ruin and the loss of his business, to do so. It’s a great, great movie.
Facing The Giants is about a good man who is facing obstacles in every aspect of his life. He is a football coach of an uninspired team, he finds out he can’t have children, people who know him are plotting the demise of his career (including his assistant coach and “friend”), his home is falling apart, and the poor man can’t even start his car most days. He finally gives up fighting the giants in his life on his own, admits he needs God’s help, and this begins a chain of events that captures the viewer up in the excitement of this heart-pounding, football movie.
Fireproof is about a fireman with an online porn addiction and a rather selfish heart who is facing the demise of his marriage (his wife lost all respect for him). He saves lives at his job, but his entire personal life is going up in flames. At the encouragement of his father, he begins the long process of trying to rebuild the happy marriage they once had, using Biblical inspiration on what kind of a man a husband is supposed to be for his family. Fireproof the movie, and the book based on it (The Love Dare) has literally saved thousands upon thousands of marriages.
Courageous is the most recent movie from the Kendrick brothers (and hopefully not the last!). Alex Kendrick stars in all the movies except Fireproof, and is the pastor of Sherwood Baptist church in the same city that all the movies are set in. He is an inspired actor, and along with his brother, great writers as well. They were tired of hit movies that were utterly inappropriate for Christian viewing capturing the attention of our youth, and decided it was time for Christians to offer quality movies that rival those huge budget feature films. I hope we can expect many more inspirational Christian movies about happy marriages, happy family, and the making of good people from these two brothers.