Calvary Christian School News and Editorial

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Filed under Cinema, Opinion

Courageous – More Than Worth the Price of Admission

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The U.S. is swiftly becoming a society without fathers. In
approximately the quarter century from the time my parents married to the time I
married, the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers
more than doubled—and the situation is worsening, with devastating consequences.
Children raised without involved dads are far more likely to live in poverty; to
suffer illness or death; to be involved in delinquency, crime, substance abuse,
and imprisonment; to do poorly in school or drop out; and to perpetuate the
cycle of fatherlessness with all its consequences.

All kinds of sociological factors contribute to the decline in
fatherhood, but the makers of Courageous aren’t
interested in blaming society. They want to address a clarion call to fathers—to
husbands, to men—to buck the trend, to make a heroic commitment, in the teeth of
an apathetic or hostile society, to do what is right, loving, and honorable by
their children and their children’s mothers.

Coming on the heels of Fireproof,
Courageous is the fourth film from Sherwood
Pictures, and it’s another step forward for the church-based film company.
Director Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen Kendrick, both pastors at
Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, have co-written and produced all of
Sherwood’s films. With each outing, the brothers not only enjoy a bigger budget
and better production values, but become more adept in their handling of
characters, relationships, and the difficult theme underlying all their films:
conversion. While the film’s church-based roots and the tendency toward
didactic, schematic storytelling are still in evidence, Courageous is their most ambitious and watchable film to
date.

Right from the start it’s evident how far the filmmakers have and
haven’t come. Courageous opens with an unexpected
grabber that establishes a main character as a competent hero, in the process
introducing themes of fatherhood and self-sacrifice by showing rather than
telling—all while demonstrating technical chops to boot.

While that opening raises the bar significantly over previous
Sherwood productions, in the aftermath, as a pair of cops drive away from the
scene, their on-the-nose dialogue underscores the moral as they muse whether
they could have matched the heroic paternal devotion just witnessed. A lighter
touch would have been more effective—more like a movie and less like a sermon
illustration, or more precisely a church-produced drama.

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Calvary Christian School News and Editorial
Courageous – More Than Worth the Price of Admission