I’m not a big fan of Christian movies, mainly because low budgets often result in bad acting and cheesy scripts that make even the most gracious churchgoers cringe in embarrassment. But today Hollywood insiders are admitting that the quality of Christian filmmaking is improving—and the newly released War Room is likely to take the genre to a new level.
Don’t expect your typical nose-in-the-air film critics to give War Room good reviews. Its faith message is not subtle. People actually pray—out loud!—on screen, and the name of Jesus is mentioned numerous times. One of the main characters gets on his knees and asks God for forgiveness, while another walks out on her back porch and commands the devil to go to hell.
If all that religion isn’t enough to drive the Hollywood elite crazy, the actors in this film talk with thick Southern accents. Even popular Bible teacher Beth Moore shows off her Texas drawl in a cameo role.
The reason for the Southern flair is that War Room was created by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Baptist brothers from Georgia who gave us Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous. Those films were panned by Hollywood, but their financial success made a few leaders in the movie business curious. They discovered that evangelical Christians have an appetite for wholesome entertainment that reinforces their beliefs. That’s why Fireproof was the top-grossing independent film of 2008—and why War Room ended up with a stunning $11.4 million last weekend when it opened in theaters.
I won’t be surprised if War Room breaks all previous records for the Kendrick Brothers. They have outdone themselves with this one. You need to see it. In fact, you should take your friends and see it as a group.
The story revolves around a middle-class couple struggling in their marriage. Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer) is a real-estate agent who is mad at her busy husband, Tony (T.C. Stallings), because he’s stressed out and angry at her most of the time. When Elizabeth takes on the job of selling the house of an elderly woman named Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), she begins a remarkable spiritual journey that transforms her family.
War Room gets its title from the small closet Miss Clara uses for prayer. She challenges Elizabeth to let go of her anger, submit fully to God and begin her own prayer life. “You are a warrior,” she tells her young friend. Elizabeth reluctantly cleans out the walk-in closet in her bedroom and begins to fight for her marriage—at the same time that her husband is considering having an affair. By the end of the film, Miss Clara has not only mentored Elizabeth in prayer; she has also taught all of us why we need to go to war on our knees.
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SOURCE: Charisma News
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. Check out his ministry at themordecaiproject.org.