This charming Christian film is exceptionally well done. If other filmmakers would create movies like this, the Christian film genre wouldn’t be such a disaster.
Should I see it?
Director: Dallas Jenkins
Writer: Andrea Gyertson Nasfell
Starring: Brett Dalton, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, D.B. Sweeney, Neil Flynn and Shawn Michaels
Rated PG due to mild drug talk and some fake blood
I’m going to come right out and write it: I hate Christian films. I loathe them. I didn’t at first, but over time they taught me to hate them. Before I took my site down on hiatus, I had seen innumerable Christian films, each more saccharine and embarrassingly unaware than the next. Reviewing Christian films is like being the taste tester at the worst cooking school in the world. Once you choke down one indigestible mess and think it can’t get worse, here comes another fresh steaming plate of good intentions gone wildly wrong.
Despite my contempt for the genre, I can clearly say that I loved this Christian film and strongly recommend it for both Christian and non-Christian audiences (with a caution).
The film centers on Gavin Stone (Brett Dalton), a haughty former Hollywood child actor. His hedonistic life lands him doing community service at a church in his small hometown. While there, he claims to be a Christian to land the role of Jesus in the church’s passion play, directed by Kelly (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes), the irritable pastor’s daughter. The two clash as Gavin’s arrogance invades the production. A budding romance, situational comedy and the obligatory (yet effective) closing salvation scene ensue.
This is a cross-genre film. It is a Christian film, but it is also a romantic comedy – a chaste romantic comedy. Director Dallas Jenkins (What If…), and screenwriter Andrea Gyertson Nasfell (Moms’ Night Out) mix these genres wonderfully. Gyertson Nasfell’s script takes the commonality of both genres and weds them. The usual structure of a Christian film isn’t boy gets girl, boy loses girl, but rather boy gets Jesus, boy loses Jesus. Here, the boy (Gavin) gets Jesus by getting the girl (Kelly). The melding of the genres leads to an impressively emotional final act. It has been a long time since I’ve seen so many people weeping at the end of a film. I didn’t mind you. Because I’m a man.