Reviews

“COURAGEOUS,” The Fathers’ Must Watch Movie

‘’A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father’’ Frank Abagnale.

This piece would have been most appropriate for Father’s Day because it has more to do with fathers.

My review is on the movie “COURAGEOUS” written by the Kendrick brothers and directed by Alex Kendrick, the older of the brothers. Truth be told, this movie would rate as the best production from Sherwood Pictures (The Movie Production Arm of Sherwood Baptist Church) so far: not without its weaknesses though.

SYNOPSIS

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.

While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a new found urgency help these dads draw closer to God … and to their children?

MY TAKE AWAY

First of all, the movie starts out well with Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) at a gas station trying to clean his windshield when his truck was stolen. Hayes runs after the truck, clinging to the side and fighting the thief through the open window. Hayes is thrown from the truck and it crashed. The perpetrator escaped, not unhurt though, and Hayes is shown in pain and struggling to get to his truck. Bystanders tell him not to worry about the vehicle but he opens the back door to reveal his infant son, crying in his car seat, apparently unharmed. That surely is a good way to get watchers on the edges of their seats. Of course Ken Bevel who in my opinion is probably the best actor from Sherwood Baptist Church, did well in that scene.

Going forward, the plot of the movie, which basically centers on the aforementioned four police officers and the struggling Javier Matinez (Robert Amaya), tries to enunciate the important role of fathers in the society from the Christian perspective.

And to this, the writers did a good job. The story was concise and some punch lines in the movie make it interesting. The lead character Adam Mitchell is portrayed as a good husband but not as a great father. He loved his nine year old daughter Emily more than 15year old son Dylan. This he did in a manner that was so obvious to the extent that Dylan must have nurtured some resentment against his sister Emily. On the other hand, Javier Martinez is an unemployed job seeker who loves and cares for his family but didn’t really have the means to meet the needs of the family. Javier simply provided for the family based on whatever income he makes per day until he was miraculously connected to Adams who mysteriously asked him to build a shade for him. Nathan from the first scene was established as a great father by going the extra mile to rescue his son. However he did all of that primarily motivated by the urge to be better than his father that he never knew. Little did he know he was being controlled by his past. Shane fuller: not much was disclosed about how well he did as a father until much later in the movie. David Thompson was portrayed as a weak rookie who had an affair with a woman in high school-an affair that resulted in a child. But David never married the lady nor did he accept the baby.

 

However, a tragic happening changed the life of Adam and that change, affected the other three (Nathan, Shane, David) including Martinez who had become a friend after constructing the shade. Adam only realized how much he needed to father his son after Emily died in an accident. Adam’s weakness came to the fore in this grieving moment when he failed to take charge as the father to console the family and lead them through such painful moment: rather he allowed his emotions to lead the way. It took the strength in the wife to encourage and make him realize why he needed to be strong for the son Danny. Adam sought help from his Pastor, he became stronger, made a resolution to become a better father and got his friends to adopt the resolution. That was the transforming moment in their lives. But, little did they know that the commitment to the resolution they made would be tested. And indeed, it was tested when Martinez was asked to be unfaithful at work in order to get a promotion and when Adam was faced with a choice to either expose his friend Shane Fuller who was involved in drugs or cover him up. In the case of Martinez, he remained faithful and was eventually promoted. Adam also exposed Shane with support from other friends. Shane eventually found himself in police cell as a result of that action and it was good he regretted the action upon realizing how much he disappointed his family. The movie ended with a call for men to rise up to their divine responsibility of being fathers.

THE GOOD: The story is a good one, which has a powerful and relevant message especially from the scriptural point.

The child actors did well in interpreting their roles. The sound and soundtracks were good and commendable.

THE BAD: I personally do not think the costumier did a good job. Apart from the police uniform, which looked nice, the other wares were too ordinary. The professionalism of the costumier is more questionable at the scene in which Martinez was trying the suit he planned to wear for the resolution ceremony. Seeing Martinez’ hand, one could easily notice that the suit was somewhat bigger than him. It could have been better for a movie with 2million dollars budget.

As good as the story was, some of the actors were just too casual and too rookie in their delivery. A case in point was when the Pastor was administering the resolution, it almost seemed he was reciting the lines. In fact reading from a piece could have cut it for me.

FASCINATING MOMENT: The point at which Nathan gave that ring to his daughter would definitely be a fascinating moment for any watcher. Well, you could ask questions like ‘‘should he have gone that far?’’

LESSONS: I have noted some lessons from the movie, which I believe would be useful to fathers.

  1. Sometimes when you fail to do the right thing for too long, when you eventually decide to do that right thing, different meanings will be given to your action: more often, the interpretations are negative. That was the case of Adam when he finally decides to show love to his son Dylan. The son at first interpreted it to be a pretentious love propelled by the death of his sister Emily. For a father, show love always especially to every member of your household. Do it while it will be rightly interpreted as genuine not propelled by circumstance(s)
  1. Every father must learn to control his emotions at all times. Every father is expected to lead his family out of emotional grief in times of crisis. This can only be done with a good mastery of one’s emotions.
  1. Whenever you find yourself in difficult situation that seem beyond your control, face it and seek necessary help from appropriate and godly quarters. That’s the way to go! Many suffer and die in silence.
  1. Embrace the right moments with your loved ones so that you can be happy with yourself to have done the right thing and live in peace. Do the wrong thing and perpetually keep yourself in a cage of regret that only God can heal. It’s a choice! That’s the situation of Adam when his daughter Emily asked for a dance in the open. It was obvious his heart wanted to dance with her but he was overly conscious of what people would say seeing him dancing with a little kid in the open. He missed that moment. He had to go back to the same spot after the girl died to do the dance alone in what looked like madness: at least that healed his regrets to a reasonable extent.
  1. Remember, everything a child needs to grow is in the scriptures. The best gift you can give your children as a father is to introduce Christ to them.
  1. Finally, sometimes we need more than the teachings, more than the movies, more than the books, and more than the words. Sometimes what we need is one painful moment that will make us realize how much we have failed or nonchalant in the discharge of our responsibilities. When that painful moment comes, we must learn to see beyond the grief and maximize the same situation to make ourselves better in pursuing our divine responsibility as fathers

“COURAGEOUS” is a movie I would recommend to all fathers and intending fathers who desire to please God and be a blessing to their family, church and the community at large. However, not much will be achieved without the support of a godly woman.

Joshua 24:15King James Version (KJV)

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.


Sunday Goodluck is a Project Manager BP Visions Ltd,  a production and film making company in Nigeria.

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