War Room (Kendrick, 2015)

My latest piece at Christianity Today looks at the new Christian film, War Room. While I do think Christian films are slooooowly improving, I focus on their writing as a weak point:

Many Christian productions are willing to hire experienced, professional directors; even when they’re shot by self-taught cinematographers, the result is usually at least adequate. Christian productions now attract familiar stars: Robert Duvall in Seven Days in Utopia; Sean Astin in Mom’s Night Out; Cybill Shepard in Do You Believe?

But when it comes to screenplay writing, the genre seems stuck in a rut. It’s more committed to heavy-handed providential plotting than imaginative explorations of character or setting.

You can read the whole article at Christianity Today Movies & TV.

2 Replies to “War Room (Kendrick, 2015)”

  1. Monique Newman

    As an actor and a follower of Jesus who has been in concerted, intentional, passionate conversation with God for years on behalf of my family (started leading a Moms in Touch group when my little boys were in 1st and 3rd grade; they have completed grad school/seminary and have been in ministry for a few years now and our group of college & career praying moms STILL continues!) I have seen the WAR ROOM trailer and I cannot bring myself to sit through the film. I hesitate to write that because I really wanted to like the work of my brethren, but honestly the plastic-ky, sanitized, preachy characters I see in the trailer make me cringe at the thought of enduring a full sitting through yet another un-layered performance that misses the opportunity to bring truth in authentic, messy, unpredictable life stories to the screen in a way that resonates with believers and non-believers alike. Human beings, even non-actor human beings, have an innate “fake sensor.” My impression is that this is the kind of film that appeals and preaches mostly to the choir. Your review seems to corroborate my impressions. If there is no magic on the page, even a talented actor (if a film company actually casts a skilled actor) cannot lift the material, so I would agree with your diagnosis targeting the foundational flaw in Christian films: writing. I pray that Father will raise up a battalion of writers who harness the power of imaginative storytelling that resonates with human experience lived under the shadow of the Almighty One.

    • kenmorefield

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, Monique. I added this to my blog page in case people wanted to comment since the CT article does not accept reader comments.

      I share your hope that Christian writers continue to develop and become integrated into both the Christian film industry and the broader cultural arts scene. (I think Christians have roles to play in both.)

      Heck, I *hope* that this film has a greater positive impact than I suspect it will.

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