Courageous: Subtle As A Chastity Ring

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Courageous
Directed by Alex Kendrick
TriStar Pictures
Opens September 30

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A belligerent and hokey sermon on faith and family, Courageous preaches ad nauseum about the intertwined values of cherishing God and being a devoted, active father. Writer/ director/star Alex Kendrick's story concerns four small-town-U.S.A. cops and one Hispanic laborer who renew their commitment to Christ and their children when one of them, Adam (Kendrick), loses his daughter in a car accident shortly after refusing to playfully dance with her—a tragedy that exposes the little girl as merely a crass pawn in service of the material's mega-church-pandering message. When not focusing on guys sincerely discussing their own dads over post-grilling non-alcoholic beverages, or sobbing over their deeply felt paternal grief, regret and prayers, the film wastes its time on tossed-off crime shenanigans in which gangs (here by and large played by African- American men in doo-rags) are posited as the potentially horrific future for kids not blessed with positive male role models. Earnest, corny and—with regard to one officer giving his teen daughter some sort of heart-shaped chastity-related promise ring— borderline creepy, Courageous endlessly expounds on the importance of God in men's lives but fails to answer the more pressing question of why religious sagas such as this treat subtlety as a sin.

 
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221 comments
Davina
Davina

I am a Christian and I was cringing and yawning throughout this movie. The message is great (who can't get behind devoted fathers?) but the story is wielded like a blunt tool. The characters are cartoony and exist solely to further the story's message. They have no internal lives or specificity and the dialogue sounds like it was lifted from a sermon. Note to Kendrick: no one is this earnest and stilted in real life. Also the acting is wildly uneven. Javi and his wife are used as comic relief, but - good heavens! - were their jokes cheesy, overacted and their Hispanic accents false-sounding. The film is over-lit,  racially unsettling (gang members are hilariously stereotypical: oafish, muscular black men who seem to relish violence for its own sake), far too long, and over plotted. There really is a lot to dislike in this film. It would have been better for Kendrick and co. to have recorded a sermon because the film plays out like an incredibly long parable acted out by puppets. 

And for the haters: it's possible to critique a film on its artistic merits separate from its message. The message, again, is great. But the film is inelegant, overlong, didactic and, for the most part, poorly acted (but that may be a problem of the script and its flimsy characters) and, as the reviewer notes, as subtle as a hand grenade.

anonymous
anonymous

I wanted to write a big long thing stating my opinion of the review and where it is wrong, but then I realized that would make me the same as the man who wrote this review, so all that I will say is that this review convienently left out all of the awesome things about this movie. For one, the awesome display of courage and leadership of the main characters in this movie! That is the way that we are called by God to live our lives, its really encouraging to see a movie that doesnt give in to the pressures of Hollywood and operates based on values. Two, the way that family is defined in the movie. The fathers are commited to their families and will not let them go. They are doing all that they can to provide and give their children the best that they can get. (I cant help myself from one opinion of the review) The fact that this review calls the father wanting for his daughter to have the best life she can by respecting the authority and decision making of her father for her own interests by giving her a purity ring creepy, may be the most insane and messed up thing I have heard in my life. Finally, I love to see the reliance on God in this movie. We can not succeed without God. Period. That is not an opinion, it comes straight out of the Book of Truth: Scripture. Granted, this movie may not have the greatest cast or storyline, but I think that the message/content is awesome! The content of the movie should be what is reviewed, not your own personal opinion.

Michael
Michael

Not only is this possibly the worst movie ever made, it is entirely UNCHRISTIAN.  Not to mention the plethora of horrific racial stereotypes (all gang members seem to be black gun toting drug dealers, and the black cop never knew his dad/ Javier as the submissive hispanic laborer strapped for cash/ Every white guy seems to have money, big house and no inclination for drug use even when selling crack!!) this movie seems to codone lying (remember Javier pretending to be a murdering latino in the cop car) and using violence (climatic gun battle scene and hand to hand combat galore). The REAL Jesus is found nowhere in the script, the terrible acting or the millions of dollars made on such cinematic garbage. Whatever Church supports this type of nonsense needs a reality check on the God they are supposedly honoring by making such a crap movie. However, perhaps it is the fault of the general audience in actually paying money to see such an undeniable joke of a Christian Message. Nick Schager is right, this movie is creepy. If Hell is real, then Satan has this movie running on repeat for all of his guests. God help us, for we have forgotten our Lord......

ProudDad
ProudDad

Wow-

Maybe you would have given a better review of the movie if it were full of sex, drugs and vulgar language?  Sounds to me like you have used this review as a way to express your personal beliefs.  How about the fact that it is one of the few movies that are free from vulgarity and sex, and show how fathers are trying to be better role models for thier children??  May not be the way you would do it and it may not be the best acting or storyline, but is sure is nice to have a movie I can watch with my kids as a family and not have the remote in hand in case of unexpected nude scene or ridculous outburst of profanity.  How about you come of your anti-religious soap box and rate the movie on content, not on personal beliefs?

Gregmullen45
Gregmullen45

I understand what you mean about the subtlety aspect.And having said that I am going to be blunt myself but for clarity reasons. Probably what a lot of people don't understand about these films, "facing the giants" " Fireproof" and the others is that the movies are primarily aimed at a Christian audience. That is those who profess to being born again. You could say that the films are sermons and the target audience get it..as I do. The film makers would have to be completely naive not to believe that these movies would be acceptable to mainstream audiences..and they are not.naive I believe myself. The films also have an evangelistic agenda as there are those who are searching for God and the movies will touch such people. I myself was one years ago. The films will do what they are mean't to do and nothing more..or less. I hope this helps to bring clarity a little.

Greg. (from Dublin Ireland)

Craig Brockman
Craig Brockman

As a Jewish father and police officer - I felt condemned midway through.

Tdeb007
Tdeb007

Take the religion out of the movie and it'd be even better. You don't need religious bullshit to be a good parent / person

Larry
Larry

Excellent and very accurate Review.

Xchrismcgx
Xchrismcgx

This isn't worth a thought out response grow up, I'm 19 do I really have to tell you that. Be a good example I don't want my children reading this garbage

Rmcdsig
Rmcdsig

This review is still very sicking!

Brandon
Brandon

Creepy? That a father would want what is best for his daughter? To encourage morality instead of perversity? To be an active part in his daughters life instead of being another apathetic father? Unbelievable. I also am incredulous that you took the daughter's death as a symbol of her being a "crass pawn" in a church's supposedly ludicrous effort to encourage father's to be an active part of their children's life.

Wolfman
Wolfman

Just watched the film and wondered what others had to say....I've got to admit, Nick, you've got a crafty pen. This film could have used your talent to help with the script, but I must say the film wasn't all bad. I expected no more from a Christian film, but I was expecting less. And I was pleasantly suprised. I am a Christian dad and was challenged by the message. Yes, the film is a bit hokey at times, and it won't get nominated for any awards outside of a mega-church led by goateed pastors; but I suspect the writers weren't hoping to reach main stream Hollywood. They want to reach the culture for good and have succeeded, IMHO.

Exnavymid
Exnavymid

This write up is ad nauseum.

Yaugs55
Yaugs55

Movie was amazing. The dude who wrote this waste of time review is the creepy one.

MommaKelso
MommaKelso

While I agree that a lot of these movies are cheesy, I am not very picky. I'll etch anything and probably like it. I'm easily amused. That being said, this isn't really a review but more of your opinion on a certain religion. You don't really talk much about the quality of the movie but more about your disdain for its purpose and seemingly the Christian faith as a whole. Don't quit your day job? Good suggestion!

Ace_wonder
Ace_wonder

This was an extremely objective critique...pause for sarcasm.

Seriously, until you can give a more unbiased review of a movie, you should consider another line of work. Talk about Satan having a position in your life. Your review speaks volumes on how sad it must be to be you. People, pray for lost folks like Nick.

Phil
Phil

Nick, you should have known better than to give an honest critique of this atrocious movie. Now the "loving" Christians will be here to condem you to hell for daring to have an opposing opinion.

Yvonne4JC
Yvonne4JC

It's subtlety that has our country and world in the turmoil we see today. That is the way Satan works...SUBTLELY!

The UNITED states was forged by MEN who gave honor where it is due & required. To God, our Creator. Not to any man nor to any feeble idea or misguided concept.

Courageous is a movie that should open the eyes of EVERY man and woman and convict their hearts & souls of where they have failed their families, communities, and society as a whole. Then take steps to change ourselves. That is where everything begins.

Those of us who proclaim to be Christians also need to wake up! We definitely need to be BOLD, COURAGEOUS, and FEARLESS. Believers are expect to be mocked by those without understanding. As Jesus the Christ said "Forgive them father for they know not what they do."

This is hoping God reveals Himself to you before the day you stand before Him.

GBU
GBU

With all do respect with people like you that's why the world is the way it is. Ignorants. people like you criticize movies like this one the way you do because you see yourselves there and don't want to accept your mistakes. But just like its said in the movie the day will come when we will stand before God and we won't be judged by how many wrongs or goods we've done. Good bless you .

Grooovygal66
Grooovygal66

As a daughter growing up without her father this movie touched me deeply and made me hurt even more that my father would rather run off with another woman and abandon his six daughters for his own selfish reasons. Just after watching it I emailed my absentee father and asked him to do one thing for me: please watch this movie and learn from it.

Tenvols1fan
Tenvols1fan

Wow what a way to show hatred to something good. Thank God that this world is not made up of ignorant people like this critic.

Horesta
Horesta

Nick, It must suk 2B U!

Pdm61
Pdm61

Easily the saddest movie reviewer ever. Maybe his dad never hugged him. A guy as full of himself as nick has no room for the profound message this movie offers. Amazed he bothered to comment on it at all.

Gjcr
Gjcr

You just proved the movie' point. God bless u.

Crystal Seable Nykreim
Crystal Seable Nykreim

Saying that a father offering to protect and honor his daughters heart....is "borderline creepy" just says a whole lot about this critic is. How sad for you and our world today that has to make everything gross!! Why do you think our world is where it is today?

Rudyail28
Rudyail28

What a shock that a critic didn't like a Christian movie!!! I believe that true men need to understand what this movie's message really is. It is about living a life that is devoted to God. God needs to be first in our lives no matter what we so in life. I am a salesman and if it was not for my belief in God, I would never be able to server these people the way that I do. Thank God for thus movie qne peoplr willing to stand against the typically Hollowwood crappy that cones out of there. (Hollywood intentionally misspelled).

Boxerdepot
Boxerdepot

Saw Nick's quote on my Apple TV's reviews section, re: fails to answer the more pressing question. I've never googled a movie critic until tonight: great quote, Nick.

Gamecocks56
Gamecocks56

Hey Nick try committing to something .... Anything like these men did and people in real life do everyday. Youd be surprised how much it fulfills you as a man. Failed to mention that his best friend... His own partner went down in this movie as well.

Bobby Mccarthy
Bobby Mccarthy

I believe he's(the critic) simply stating how unrealistic this movie was. How it lacked any genuine feeling. How christians(or any other religious people) create a false sense of right and wrong. It was basically jesus porn if you ask me(which you didn't). Regardless, all religion is evil. Maybe the world portrayed in this film could be possible without it!

believer323
believer323

I will pray for you Nick

Luke 23:34And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And parting his garments among them, they cast lots.

Wayne Leon Engle
Wayne Leon Engle

I just saw the movie, and while I'm not conventionally religious, I found it enormously inspiring, moving, funny, all by turns. Absent or uninvolved fathers are indeed a huge part of the social disintegration of our society today, and this movie makes that point, not with preaching, although some may claim it does; but by example. I highly recommend this movie, even if the reviewer for the Village Voice didn't like it (surprise, surprise at that, by the way!)

Tinasparkle
Tinasparkle

Wow, I agree Nick, those values of cherishing God and being a devoted, active father…. Eeeeew, who could go for that nonsense? I think a godless, absent, inactive father sounds so much more appealing. I mean, there is a lot of that going around and it’s made our world a better place, don’t you think? And I’m backing ya on the silliness of men discussing the relationships they had with their own fathers and having regret about their own shortcomings as fathers. Why, that is ludicrous, I mean…positive male role models…hogwash. I say let the kids turn to the gangs, let them grow up with no stable role models, it’s what’s made America what it is today! Wait….that IS what has made America what it is today! Aside from my tongue in cheek, it’s beyond me how anyone could put down the message of this film. Put down the filmmaking or actors, but not the message, it is rock solid. Things now days are completely backwards and we are paying the price as a society. Articles with views like this are prime evidence. You want subtlety Nick? How’s this….America is subtlety going to hell in a hand basket because of views like yours. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” Isaiah 5:20.

Angel Cloud37
Angel Cloud37

Loved the movie!! Need more like it!!! Much better then Limitless!

Regina Maxine
Regina Maxine

I would like to comment about one of the possible reasons why this particular reviewer did not give Courageous a favorable review. Some people want to pretend everything is fair and even religion has to be "fair." People think all religions are to be counted as equal. We forget one thing: The God of the Bible says there is only one Way to Him. Because of this, either the Christian religion is true or false. If the God of the Bible is not the real God, then the review may not have anything to do with the reviewer's own spiritual walk and may possibly be an unbiased review. However, if the God of the Bible is indeed the real God, then we must consider that people who are not His followers will often be led to interpret things of God with a bias. The reason is this: If the God of the Bible is the true God, then someone who is not serving that God will be against God. According to the Bible, it is one or the other. Conversely, we can contend the opposite, that if the God of the Bible is not the real God, then people who follow Him are the ones judging the movie with a bias against the truth because they are judging from a false belief system. However, Christian or not, the movie could still just be a badly made movie. But if the reviewer is not Christian and the movie is actually a decent movie, the non-Christian reviewer will not see it is such because he or she is spiritually blinded. Therefore, if this reviewer is in fact spiritually blind, he will not be able to judge any Christian movie without bias against things that are Christian.

Jeffreysaddison
Jeffreysaddison

Wow. I am so glad that I can watch an inspirational, life altering, movie like this and the previous three Sherwood pictures and enjoy it, live it and recommend it. I am so blessed not to go through life with Nicks "dead in side" attitude.

Skip
Skip

Ouch Nick! Your cynicism is like projectile vomiting from Regan in "The Exorcist". Are you so forearmed against concrete thought that you cannot comprehend the powerful effect of surrendering to an abstract expression of hope, which is what Faith represents? " Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen", (from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament in the Bible, Chapter 11, verse 1). Alex Kendrick has written and produced a fine story in this film, but your prejudice clouds your inner vision. You've been watching too many movies.... go see the rest of America, especially the rough and gravelly roads off the four-lane highways.

Raymond Debroisse
Raymond Debroisse

What's wrong with chastity? We live in a world where sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are a plague. The movie has an exceptional storyline, men are important in our society!!! Pray for Nick. The further we separate from Gods will the further we decline as a society.

Guest
Guest

Get a life, Nick. Or else at least a new job. Hopefully the $16.2 million this thing grossed at the box office will infuse a little reality into your biased perspective. I'll be praying that you and others like you will see the Truth of this movie's message. May God bless you, if you are willing to receive Him.

Marco
Marco

This reviewer is a moron trying to write a review to impress other reviewers but just doesn't get it with regard to the movie.

me
me

I am sorry that you do not see the real message in the movie, you sir need to become a professional in a field where blaming and mockery is a plus. Please, before you say stupid and be belligerent against the producers of this film, why don't you watch it as a human, and not a critic. After you do, please feel free to change your limited intellect and say that you ARE wrong. Have a nice day and stay out of trouble; actually, stay out of idiocy.

Mk62luv
Mk62luv

I loved the message. My husband was crying watching this. We have 6 children, and we all know children who need good fathers. Great movie. Great message. Can't wait for the next one!!

csinc
csinc

this authors gift for subtlety is also apparently lost. he spits in the face of all people of faith and or value and mocks a huge portion of the world. its one thing to say that he doesn't approve of the movie because it is inconsistent with his atheistic hateful world view it is quite another to mock people for their beliefs. i think anyone would clearly see that this is not at all a review of this movie but more a soap box for a anti-religion / anti-faith post modern mocker. the fact that anyone wants someone this one sided and offensive representing them is disturbing. for someone obviously fixed in his anti faith stance it seams he likes to critique movies that have some sort of faith / religious tone to them. strange. so. we have an amazing movie that is doing really well at the box office with almost no marketing and is being reported as 94% of people who saw it liking it and one angry little man throwing a tantrum in his little corner of the web. this movie is out performing movies that cost 25 times as much to make on word of mouth alone. its a good movie regardless of what you believe unless of course you are offended by the mere idea that there are people in the world who believe in god. personally i had no idea what it was about when i saw it other than it was about some police officers and i found the movie to be the most engaging drama i have ever seen. it pulls you in and you feel for these people and what they are going through. the action in the movie was more believable than anything i have seen in a long time. this review is like a vegetarian reviewing a steak house, I'm sorry but with all respect i would get another opinion from someone who is not against the very concept.

csinc
csinc

i don't think this persons opinion is unbiased.

anonymous
anonymous

Hey man, this post is completely inacurate.  First off, the scene with Javier is not promoting lying, the officers use that particular guise to protect him from a criminal.  And you think that the movie promotes lying, really!? The main character turns in his best friend, let me repeat, his BEST FRIEND, because he was stealing/lying about evidence! Second, in scripture there is never anything outlying protection of the people, that is why Israel had an army, which fought in God's name! And the racial stereotypes are simply a reach by people desperate to try to tear down this awesome movie because of the deep implications that it presents.  And by the way, the white cops who you seem to think were rich were only making 36000 a year, which is not super rich...

Next time you decide to make a "Christian" post, please make sure your claims are backed by Scripture, and yours clearly, are not

Austinh1237
Austinh1237

How can the Christian religion be evil if all it's doing in this movie is promoting, the importance of good role models in kids lives, what's wrong about teaching kids to be upstanding citizens?

Angel Cloud37
Angel Cloud37

Amen. You said it. There is only one God! The ones being really critical more than likely aren't saved and the movie is stepping on their toes. I've seen some movies that well known actors were in and the movies stunk.....no good story lines or theme.

Guest
Guest

Just because something is popular or makes a lot of money doesnt mean its good. Lil' Wayne makes millions every time he releases a new album.

Lobel
Lobel

I haven't read the Bible in a while, but does it preach against using punctuation?

Gray Me
Gray Me

Opinions in their very nature are biased. Facts aren't.

Like the fact that you'll cease to exist one day. Deal with it. Don't concoct delusions you'll party forever on some imaginary dude's right hand.

 

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