Lord, I don’t know if I can ask this: could you tell her I did my side of the dance?
Courageous, the latest offering from Sherwood pictures, marked the furtherance of the Kendrick brother’s filmmaking evolution, seen so blatantly in Fireproof. Whereas the latter emphasized the importance of strong marriage by zeroing-in on Kirk Cameron’s relationship with his wife, Courageous goes a step further and lays hold at the root of the need for strong biblical fathers, in our society, but especially in the Church herself. To do so, the film takes more risks, involves more character and depth, and manages to go a mile beyond it’s predecessor.
To avoid any risk of spoilers, allow me to give a quick rundown of the essentials:
Acting: despite the last film being graced by Kirk Cameron’s enjoyable (if not stunning) presence, Courageous exceeds the other films in that the acting was everything it needed to be. I was even struck in a few scenes in which the depth of emotion imparted was better than that which most Hollywood films (notably: instances of grieving).
Storyline: Just like the last few, this film throws together a jumble of emotion and feel-good drama that is conditioned by occasional fast-paced sequences and well-done humor (albeit awkwardly inserted). It’s use of five characters as the keys dads in the film was by far the most clever element, allowing them to display the issue with all of the hiccups, imperfections, and yes, failures that accompany it.
To say that is film was not “preachy” would be false; but this element was forgivable, because it was being what it meant to be. Rather than random moments of moral reinforcement, everything that was blatant and in the face of the audience was there because it was meant to be.
The story was far from perfect, but I was more satisfied leaving this film than any other I’ve viewed this year (Thor and Captain America included). Through a real world story, it communicated to a real world about a real need.
That was the clincher: while Fireproof left me walking out with a smile at the beautifully happy ending, whether because of the filmmaker’s maturity on my own, Courageous really did reinforce in my mind what it means to be the kind of man, and provider, that I need to be today in order to be the father I need to be tomorrow: indeed, in order to be the kind of brother I need to be now.
The Church needs the message of Courageous; this film cannot be viewed alone, because it needs the reinforcement of the Gospel in order to have real affect on a Spiritually fatherless world. But in order for the Gospel to spread, we all need to quit ourselves as men and be the courageous people God has called us to be.