I have seen a lot of "Christian" movies. Most are poorly funded, poorly scripted, and poorly made. They are either watered down theological mush (Heaven is For Real) or they try too hard to address every problem known to man in 110 minutes (God's Not Dead). Another problem is that they are typically targeted at the Bible Belt so no unchurched person will ever see them. Given their poor quality, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Once in a blue moon, something comes along that is worth watching. For example, Jen and I saw "Mom's Night Out" and found it to be a fun and uplifting romp. Sure, it was saccharine, but we enjoyed it. We have also heard good things about "Believe Me," an irreverent film about non-believers trying to get Christians to donate to their fake cause.
There is a movie releasing this weekend that has single handedly restored my faith in faith-based movies.
A few weeks ago, I got a call from Alan Powell, the lead in a new movie called The Song, which is loosely based on the life of King Solomon. He was doing some of the grassroots hype-work that is necessary on a project like his and wanted leaders in the faith community to know about the movie. He sent me an early copy of the film so my family watched it together.
We were more than impressed. The Song has a solid story and characters going through experiences that seemed thoroughly authentic. The dialogue never felt cheesy to me. (It usually does in films like this.) In fact, it felt almost raw and honest. While it was made on a limited budget, the production value is outstanding, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the music industry.
Jed King, the lead character, struggles through just about everything Solomon did: sex, fame, money, purpose. (Though he only has one wife; I don't know how they could have put a modern spin on hundreds of wives and concubines. Groupies, perhaps?) It was fun to look for parallels to the biblical narrative. We started seeing them even before the opening titles.
What we loved most about the film was the narration. Before and after key scenes, Jed would narrate from Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and even Proverbs. Because the verses always fit exactly what was happening in the film, it brought a fresh, new light to the Scriptures. Surprisingly, for someone not familiar with the Bible, it didn't sound the least bit preachy. It sounded wise and useful for anybody. And isn't that the point of wisdom literature? Again...very well done.
A few warnings: this is not a film for children. It deals with issues that are way over a 10 year old's pay grade. Every family is different, but most would be comfortable taking their teenagers to it, as long as their is an opportunity to debrief after the film. In fact, we had some great discussions in our living room with our kids when we watched it. The Song captures both the pain from sin and the beauty of redemption.
As with every faith-based film, there is a need for box office success in The Song's opening weekend. If people see it over the next few days, then the press (and the nation) will take notice. If God's Not Dead can blow up in theaters, this one should, too. I've seen both movies, and The Song is a much better film. I can and will recommend it to anyone and everyone I know.
It's just that good. You should see it this weekend!