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  • When Fathers Become 'Courageous'

    The critical importance of committed fatherhood to the well-being of children is the theme of  “Courageous,” the latest little faith-based movie that could from Georgia-based brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick. The film made a strong beginning at hitting home: “Courageous” was Fandango’s weeklong king of advance ticket sales as it opened Friday on more than 1,150 screens. The movie is the fourth increasingly polished offering from the Kendrick brothers’ Sherwood Pictures, makers of  the Christian-themed “Flywheel,” “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof.” In “Courageous,” four sheriff’s deputies and an out-of-work carpenter must walk through personal crises that convince them to up their games as fathers and husbands. In the case of one deputy (Alex Kendrick, also the director and co-writer), the turning point irrevocably rocks his small family. Jen Chaney of The Washington Post writes in her “Celebritology” blog:

    These films make a profit because they are made modestly, and speak (as well as market) to an audience that craves what they provide: movies about spiritual subjects that, for the most part, can be seen by audience members of numerous ages. … “Courageous” doesn’t need endorsements from film critics at major media outlets, nor does it need to spend millions of dollars on press tours and ad campaigns. It knows who its audience is and targets those people directly. Which—much as it may pain the movie-critic side of me to say this—is pretty smart.”

    The viewer can tell a movie has a larger point to make when gang-initiation rites that foreshadow a climactic, deftly staged gunfight and chase are put into perspective by these lawmen, who cite national stats linking fatherlessness and juvenile arrests—and then wonder to what extent they truly are present in their own homes. For those familiar with it, the work on marriage and family of Robert Rector, Christine Kim and other Heritage experts may come to mind as multiple plot threads on the consequences of absent fathers play out. (And those not sure of the non-biblical data underlying the film will find FamilyFacts.org an excellent starting point.) “Courageous” sounds a clear gospel message that will make some viewers uncomfortable, even snicker. But it also makes a dramatically satisfying case for the need for men of all (or no) faiths to step up and assume responsibility for their actions. Here’s an opportunity to support that call—and perhaps prompt quality films from Hollywood that lift up marriage rather than put it down—by voting at the box office for “Courageous” over opening weekend or the next few days.

    Update: “Courageous” surprised Hollywood insiders by scoring the biggest opening of any of the weekend’s new movies. The film, made for $1 million, opened at No. 4 overall and claimed the fifth-best opening weekend of any previous “Christian” film — after “The Passion of the Christ” and the three “Narnia” films.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to When Fathers Become 'Courageous'

    1. David Arthur says:

      My wife and I saw this film a few hours ago. After viewing it, we called our son and son-in-law and encouraged them to make it a priority viewing. The message to fathers is clear and powerful

    2. Olga Richman says:

      The film focuses around four police officers with a tagline that suggests a duty to their force: http://bit.ly/pM0xDJ

    3. David Weaver says:

      Powerful film. A must for fathers of any age.

    4. Bobbie says:

      The trailer brought tears to my eyes! I hope we can see the whole movie! Just this bit should bring people to realize that it ISN'T within the control of GOVERNMENT who makes us who we are, IT'S US AND FREEDOM!!!!

    5. Elizabeth says:

      We saw it on opening day. Also read the book by Randy Alcorn (excellent!!).
      Recommend both film and book very highly

    6. WWilson says:

      Christian films are often cheesy or ring hollow, or are just poorly made. Not this one. Genuinely moving and hilarious, and very profound.

    7. Chris says:

      The film not only makes an important point of the need for men to be the role models of integrity to their communities, but also points out the need for men to have an accountability group. Too many times, we as Americans pride ourselves on an independent "I can do it alone" attitude that we are destined to fail and then give up. Fatherhood and marriage is not suppose to be easy, but it a commitment that provides rewards and consequences to the EVERY generation of our families and society.

    8. E Vigilance says:

      My husband has seen the movie–twice!–the second time with his father. I'm assured I will like it. Hope so. Meanwhile, as a rabid fan of Randy Alcorn's fiction, I look forward to our reading Alcorn's complementary book that speaks to courageous manhood. Too, a radio interview with Tony Evans' daughter–who wrote the women's version of Alcorn's book, I learned yesterday–intrigues me.

    9. JakeJones says:

      As both a father (to a 30 year old son with whom I want to establish a more meaningful relationship) and son (of an 81 year old father who went home to the Lord on July 27 of this year, and with whom I wish I had had a deeper relationship), this movie spoke volumes. The importance of a father truly committed to the well-being of his family is dramatically and compellingly stated in this picture. The Christian values in the film are evident, but I, too, believe that even the staunchest atheist father would find this story both interesting and meaningful.

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