War Room

War Room Movie ReviewSony Pictures
Rated PG for thematic elements throughout.
Running time: 120 minutes.
One and a half stars out of four.

“War Room” is the most slickly made faith-based film I’ve seen yet in terms of production values, but that doesn’t make it quote-unquote good, per se.

It certainly looks better than, say, the Nicolas Cage version of “Left Behind,” a dull groaner about the end times. It’s not nearly as top-to-bottom atrocious as the hilariously inept “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” (although it’s just about as subtle). And it has more moments of emotional honesty than the overtly wacky “Moms’ Night Out,” although not many.

Despite its glossy visuals — including lean camerawork and smooth editing — it’s still stuck with a script that repeatedly hammers you over the head with its proselytizing. Which is strange given that it’s hard to imagine anyone seeing “War Room” who wasn’t already a true believer. And it’s a fervent audience, as evidenced by the movie’s No. 1 status at the box office this past weekend, beating out “Straight Outta Compton.” I had to see a matinee of it out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else.

And “War Room” is indeed a curiosity — a strange beast with sleek packaging and a silly script. It basically preaches that a woman can transform her lying, sneaking, stealing husband out of his evil ways through prayer. From the outset of the film from director and co-writer Alex Kendrick (whose previous faith-based efforts include “Fireproof” and “Courageous”), it’s clear that Tony Jordan (former pro football player T.C. Stallings) is not a good dude. A traveling pharmaceuticals salesman, he’s charismatic when he’s out on the road — especially with the foxy ladies who cross his path — but abrupt and dismissive once he returns to his expansive North Carolina home.

His wife, successful real estate agent Elizabeth (Priscilla C. Shirer, a preacher making a surprisingly confident acting debut), tries to stay strong and withstand his cruelty for the greater good of the family, but their sweet, bright daughter Danielle (Alena Pitts) has a hard time hiding how much her father’s distance hurts her. (Pitts gives the most authentic performance of the entire cast, by the way. The few decently moving scenes feature her in moment-of-truth conversations with each of the actors playing her parents. But then she gets stuck anchoring an awkward subplot involving competitive double-dutch rope-jumping, which apparently is a real thing.)

Just in time, though, Elizabeth takes on a new client: the elderly and pious Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), a widow who’s ready to sell her 100-year-old house. Miss Clara is such an egregious example of the Magical Negro figure — even in a film populated predominately by black actors — she’s borderline offensive and unintentionally hilarious. She’s pushy and outspoken but also clairvoyant, apparently, because within minutes of meeting Elizabeth, she senses that her marriage is in trouble. Clearly, going to church more is the answer. But Elizabeth must go further than that. She must do what Miss Clara has done, which is remove all the clothes, shoes and handbags from one of her closets and turn it exclusively into a room for prayer. This is the war room of the film’s title: the place to strategize with scripture. (Viewers who live in lofts — or anywhere in New York City, for that matter — will have trouble replicating this exercise at home.)

And magically, it works! In no time, Tony has opened his heart to Jesus and admitted the error of his wicked ways. First, he (almost) cheats on Elizabeth and loses his job when he gets caught selling samples on the side. But really, all her prayers are answered pretty quickly. Tony even gets in on Danielle’s double-dutch action, which held no interest for him previously. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways.

But “War Room” is also about Satan, as evidenced by Elizabeth’s bizarre monologue in which she walks around her house — and even steps outside into the yard — shouting at the devil to leave her family alone as overwhelming, inspirational music swells in the background. Kendrick (who co-wrote the script with his brother, Stephen) doesn’t even bother with the obvious cutaway shot of baffled neighbors reacting to this late-night rant for a quick laugh. This climactic moment is deadly serious. Such is the bubble of piety in which this film exists.

Miss Clara gets the last word, though. In increasingly passionate tones, she wails on and on about the need to create an army of prayer warriors throughout this land, once again perpetuating the notion of Christian persecution. As her booming narration continues — I mean, she’s actually shouting at this point — images of people all over the world and various walks of life flash across the screen. They’re all praying. They’re all united. I’m sure it’s a fortifying message for the faithful in the audience, but it’s unlikely to reach the people who’d rather use their closets for hanging clothes.

72 Comments on “War Room

  1.  by  Wendy

    The curiosity you had to want to know what the buzz was about that made this movie #1 was exactly the point. You take what you wanted from the movie, which just like in your opinion, was something negative. But you still made a contribution to a faith-based movie so thank you. I will pray for you to have eyes to see and ears to hear. So when the day comes, you may feel quite different and then understand what the true meaning of this movie was about, not just about an empty closet with papers taped to a wall. Know the interior not focus on the exterior.

    •  by  Dawesi

      “slickly made faith-based film I’ve seen yet in terms of production values,”

      production values and the script (the sickly part) are two things in the professional film world.

      learn something about film, then write.

  2.  by  Kelly

    Just has a bit of a family tiff because someone in our family wanted us to ALL go see it. I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Oh that’s the crazy Christian movie!”

    And now there’s a fight and I’m hiding in a bedroom wishing I could be anywhere but here.

    Christians, is it possible you could just leave us alone? I don’t want to be preached at for two hours and I’m not stupid enough to fall for the crap.

    •  by  Christy Lemire

      You’ll have to let me know how that all turns out.

    •  by  Kayla

      Sorry you were pushed to experience something you didn’t want to. ?. Sometimes people who believe something is powerful and impacted their life, mistakenly think it will help others, the same way. Don’t hold it against them. They just love ya and don’t quite know how to show it.

    •  by  Elizabeth

      The movie was great, you had the option of walking out of the movie just as I do when I don’t like one. It’s wonderful to have options when you want to go out to watch a movie. This was not only entertainment but also a life changing movie, I know many of us needed it.

      •  by  CK

        How can she review a movie she walks out of? She’s a professional reviewer. A regular person can stop watching/walk out of a movie they don’t like, but this is quite literally her job.

    •  by  Jay Schwartz

      That’s funny, that’s the same thing my mother said about Christianity. She became a Christian at the tender age of 73. Prayer works. Not on our timing. But Gods.

    •  by  Ginny

      Interesting. I don’t believe you are being preached at. And, certainly, you do not have to go see the movie or can walk out if you feel you are.

    •  by  Mikey

      So you think all Christians are stupid huh. Well I’m not stupid I’ll pray for you and hope that you see the light

    •  by  ChrisB

      Lol, dont worry no one is forcing you to go see it. And no one forces you to listen. If you ever feel that way due to Christians then they are not true followers of Christ but followers of religion. There are nominal Christians and then there are true Christians, followers of Christ who not only listen to Christ, but live like Christ.

    •  by  Linn

      so you love your family enough to go the movie with them…and can’t keep your opinions or negative attitude to yourself so that the family you love can simply enjoy the movie and not have a fight at home?

      Would it be so difficult—to just give those two hours to family–and leave it at that? You can sit in the darkened theater, your mind can wander wherever (just don’t text please…) and at the end say something neutral and true about what you saw—I don’t know–the little girl was a really good actress—any comment that won’t make the people that attended it with you (you said family) uncomfortable, angry or defensive. Even though you are a real live person doesn’t mean you can’t be an actor for a little while…My opinion.

      Can you accept that some movies can be made for an audience different from you? It’s two hours of your life….

      Or–next time—‘man-up’ and respectfully decline the movie invite with a believable excuse. Protect your family members from your disdain—and avoid the conflict.

      Just a thought.

    •  by  Larry

      Kelly there was no one that made you buy a ticket, You knew what the movie was about before you went to see it, If the movie Had sex, people getting shot, using drugs, dirty language, Climate Change, the world coming to an end, Aliens, You might have enjoyed it

  3.  by  Jessica

    I have heard nothing but great reviews about this movie from family, friends, and aquaintances. It is difficult to connect to a movie such as this if you don’t understand or have truly experienced the power of prayer. Maybe instead of commenting and submitting a negative review, you should consider finding out the reason why you feel this way when so many others don’t. This may be the opportunity to gain understanding and become closer to God. As for me and family, I will be going to see this movie soon. God Bless you!

    •  by  Ray

      It’s easy to understand why she doesn’t feel the same way as many others, she hasn’t indoctrinated with the beliefs that other reviewers hold.

      If one views this movie without utilizing any critical thinking skills, then I’m sure it’ll come off as one of the greatest films of the 21st century. However, there is there is still a sane minoritythat will see the film for exactly what it is. Welcome to a review by one of them.

      I know you’ll love the movie though. It’s right up your alley.

    •  by  CK

      Have you considered that your family, friends, and acquaintances might be biased? This movie is quite literally preaching to the choir. If you already think prayer works and feel like this movie is powerful, awesome. You don’t really need a movie to echo your own views to feel more secure about them, do you? I think it’s possible to separate two things: (1) the movie’s message and the (debatable) importance of it) and (2) besides the importance (or lack thereof) of prayer, is the movie actually a story worth watching/well-made? It seems like Mrs. Lemire is trying to address #2. You seem to be more concerned with #1. Yes, whether a movie is good or not is entirely subjective, but I think a film should have more than just a powerful message to be good. It sounds like the filmmakers of War Room were concerned with getting their message across and not much about the other aspects of filmmaking.

      •  by  Tim

        It’s not preaching to the choir at all. The fact of the matter is the church doesn’t pray enough. I am not knocking means of the world, but all too often we resort to that as opposed to getting on our knees and petitioning our Father who love us more than anything and who truly knows what’s best for us. This is a movie to wake up Christians. The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) accomplishes much!
        Even Jesus’ own disciples petitioned him to teach them to pray. We could learn from those men.

        •  by  CK

          Well, preaching to the choir is defined as, “speaking as if to convince a person or group of something which that person or group already believes”. I doubt many non-Christians are going to suddenly start praying because of a ham-fisted film, so this is literally just a reminder to people who already pray that they should continue to pray. Pretty close to the literal definition of the phrase/where the idiom came from.

          “The fact of the matter is the church doesn’t pray enough.”

          What is “the church”? A particular church? All of Christianity? That’s quite the generalization. I’m sure different churches pray to different degrees.

          “I am not knocking means of the world, but all too often we resort to that as opposed to getting on our knees and petitioning our Father who love us more than anything and who truly knows what’s best for us.”

          But is there real proof that prayer has ever actually made a change in the world? Or do we do it to make us feel better about our issues?

          “The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) accomplishes much!”

          Like what specifically?

          •  by  Lr

            Obviously, not in your life… and that’s very sad. Try it.. Seek God with all your heart, soul and mind and you too will see His glory transforming your life.

          •  by  Stacy

            “The Church” is not a generalization. It’s a term for the body, or group, of believers in Christ. This doesn’t conform to denominations.

      •  by  Chris

        I have to agree with your comment. I am a strong Christian who has a close relationship with God, and I think the movie is terrible and makes christians look like a bunch of in your face preachers with no taste.

      •  by  Sugar&Spice

        “You don’t really need a movie to echo your own views to feel more secure” It’s not about feeling secure, it’s about getting to watch a movie that has the same worldview you do. The vast majority of movies are all about sex, violence, etc. Some people like me sure appreciate a movie like this once in awhile. I watch regualr movies too, last two I watched was Trainwreck and Mad Max. Well made movies,great acting… but they could have toned it down….particularly in Trainwreck, I especially hate hate cussing… Anyway hope this helps you understand why Christians are so eager to go watch a movie that they can relate to (cause there is not much out there, and the handful of movies that do exist are low budget– sad reality for us).

      •  by  Garian

        CK, your right, honestly the movie was made to make a direct message to the body of Christ who has experienced trials in their walk. Also it was made for the reassurance that God does honor and answer prayer. Lastly for those that walked away from Christ (backslide), or curious about God’s power thereof ,God has he’s way of using such an awesome movie and inspire their heart. So this movie isn’t about winning awards or getting the approval simple opinion of a critic it’s a movie for seeking truth. So since you don’t know truth why do you bother to entertain this comment forum. Shouldn’t you be enjoying your life. Cause without Christ this life is the only enjoyed reward you obtain. Don’t believe me, trying asking Jesus. Church!

    •  by  Diane Perdue

      This movie is great! This movie should win a award! This movie can change a non believer life through prayer! God wants us to have a relationship with him.

  4.  by  Wendy

    But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].

    While it is God’s desire (yes your Creator) that all will come to know and accept Him, sadly many will not. Therefore those who don’t know Him and watch this may feel nudged to turn from their selfish prideful ways and serve the One true Savior. Or at the very least will begin to desire a life different than the one they currently have. Others however (like the critic of this movie) will go on attempting to fight the Truth and create this idea that Christ Followers are a bunch of loony people. Granted some are but it has nothing to do with God.

    This movie is medicine for the souls because for Believers this is a reminder that we have to unite in prayer to offset the opposition of our Faith.

    God always answers prayers it may not always look the way we want or when we want but He responds.

    The message of this marriage is that this woman can not control her spouse but she can trust God to provide her the worth and acceptance that comes from Him regardless if her spouse or the world lets her down.

    For Beleuvers it doesn’t matter what we see or how we feel, our hope will always be in His promises to His children. And because He loves us enough not to let us be comfortable in our sinful ways, we are called to love the unbeliever because He first loved you and me.

    Staying the course

    •  by  steve morris

      very well said….the critic needs just to sit back and let go of his negative thoughts while watching this movie..i haven’t seen it and probably won’t because of my circumstances..but i know what the movie is trying to tell people just by watching the trailer…GOD does work in mysterious ways…but the movie isn’t real life and what happens here is not on the same time line as real time so i’m sure the time it took for events to unfold was not this quick in real life…stop your negativity and let the movie guide you

    •  by  CK

      If you need a poorly-made movie to remind you of the strength of prayer, then do you really believe in the strength of prayer that much?

      •  by  D>M

        Are you paid to be rude or this is the real you? Everyone needs Prayer in their lives including you! Smile God Loves You!

    •  by  J. Bass

      Very powerful and proper response. The only thing that I would like to add is, we cannot change others, but God can. We don’t pray our will over their lives, but His will be done. Then we trust Him to do what only He can how only He can in and through His creation.

  5.  by  big shot

    “Prayer: how to do nothing and still think you’re helping”

    •  by  Wendy

      If you’re an unbeliever then you’re right. Sheep only respond to the voice of their Shepard because he knows them and they know him.

      Likewise God is our Good Shepard. He knows us and we know Him. If you are not His sheep your prayers fall on deaf ears.

      But in order to pray and it be effective you have to believe. Your Heavenly Father wants you to believe so He can show you His faithfulness. You have been wounded and so it’s hard for you to trust. I get it. But even as Believers God does not promise is a life free of disappointment.

      How sad to believe this world is it. There is a heaven and a hell. Why risk believing there is not. When we die we will all spend eternity somewhere.

      If you can get your hands on a copy of The Case For Christ please read it. It is about an atheist who tried with great tenacity to disprove the existence of Christ and His deity but could not. And during it all he became a believer.

      There are many today who believed in the theory of evolution who now have recanted because technology today has disproved many of Darwins theories.

      Best wishes

      •  by  CK

        Can you please prove to me a time that prayer has made a tangible difference in someone’s life? As in the positive effect can be proven to be a DIRECT effect of praying.

        “How sad to believe this world is it. There is a heaven and a hell. Why risk believing there is not.”

        Actually, I think it’s kind of sad to believe that there is a heaven and hell. That you should be good because if you aren’t, you’ll be punished for the rest of eternity and if you are good, you’ll live in bliss for the rest of eternity. Is a person truly a good person if they only commit good acts to avoid punishment and gain bliss? Why not be a good person and help other human beings out solely because it’s the right thing to do? Do humans really need hell hanging over their heads in order to be good people? I think that promotes a quite bleak view of people, to be honest with you.

        Furthermore, “why risk believing there is not” is a version of Pascal’s Wager (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager). The idea is quite easily disproved: how do you know which religion to pick? In most religions, there is a punishment for not being a “true believer” in the “correct” god. So how do you know Christianity is the “right” religion? What if the Christian god doesn’t exist, but only the Buddhist ones do? Then Christians unfortunately picked incorrectly.

        “If you can get your hands on a copy of The Case For Christ please read it. It is about an atheist who tried with great tenacity to disprove the existence of Christ and His deity but could not.”

        Ah, one of my favorite logical fallacies, the burden of proof logical fallacy. In a nutshell, it is “I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false”. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the person making the assertion; in this instance, that god exists. If you’re claiming that god exists, then you must prove it. The burden of proof isn’t on the person who is NOT making the claim. Here’s an example: let’s say that I claim that we are perpetually surrounded by small, pink, invisible unicorns. You can’t see the unicorns, you can’t touch them, and you can’t detect their presence by any means, spiritual or scientific. Would you immediately take my claim at face value? Or would you say something like “BS, I don’t believe you. Prove to me that these unicorns exist.”? I think most people would say the latter, because the assertion is ridiculous that these unicorns exist. A similar burden of proof comes with god: if you are claiming that god exists, then you must prove that fact. It is not on other people who are NOT making the assertion to prove that god DOESN’T exist. A similar analogy is Russell’s teapot.

        “There are many today who believed in the theory of evolution who now have recanted because technology today has disproved many of Darwins theories.”

        What? How has “technology” disproved many of Darwin’s theories? His theories weren’t perfect (believe it or not, science has advanced a bit since 1859), but the theory of evolution has been soundly proven multiple times by many different groups of unassociated scientists working separately. But people believe what they want to, even when evolution has been proven.

        •  by  Wendy

          Wow! You’ve said a lot here and I appreciate your feedback. As I stated in an earlier post – the bible which I completely believe as the authoritative word of God is very clear that as an unbeliever you will always view His truths and those who believe as foolishness and absurd. And for that reason it wouldn’t matter how many examples I or any believer post here, you will find a way to disprove.

          It is clear that you don’t understand it is not about our goodness that gets us into heaven because we (including me) could never be good enough. I deserve hell. But it is what Christ did and if you believe those accounts and Who He is then by His grace we are saved from what we deserve. So it is not about hanging anything over anyone. God’s love and grace is available for all who accept it. He is not a kill-joy God.

          My guess is you too have been so disappointed in life that you cannot see beyond your own human intelligence and for that reason I will not argue with you about any r elitism theories. I would encourage anyone to examine my words by seeking the truth rather than believing your bully- like responses hold any merit.

          I am not angry with you and only expect you to respond in this way. I am called to respectfully respect your opinions and to love and pray for you (even though I don’t know you personally). As Christ followers we are not promised a life of easy living but our faith and hope goes beyond our natural senses. It’s a bonus when God’s blessing are tangibly visible. But even when they are not – He is still God and forever faithful.

          Like me – there will come a day when you will take your last breathe. It may be sudden or it may be slow enough for you to call out to someone or something bigger than you because most face death with rear fear and regret. I don’t want that for you. I want to live a long and productive life but unlike you I have faith that while my physical body may return to the earth – my soul will spend eternity with the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.

          For those who refuse to believe this is your “heaven” so enjoy it now. For us as Beleuvers this is as bad as it will ever get for us here on earth. Glory!

          Best wishes

          •  by  CK

            Interesting. You say you appreciate my feedback, but you accuse me of not understanding, you claim I have been disappointed in life, you say I can’t see beyond my own intelligence, you accuse me of being an elitist, and you call me a bully. It seems like you’re trying to be nice because you think it’s what god wants you to do, but you’re actually upset with me, or at least you didn’t especially like my response. I enjoy how you couched your disapproval in religious rhetoric and faux kindness though. You also didn’t actually respond to any of my points, but instead erected numerous straw men and went off on tangents completely unrelated to the points I brought up. However, I will address your points directly in an attempt to have an actual back-and-forth of substance.

            “the bible which I completely believe as the authoritative word of God is very clear that as an unbeliever you will always view His truths and those who believe as foolishness and absurd”

            I don’t think you’re foolish and absurd. I think religion has issues, but it also has value. It’s the fundamentalists of any religion that ruin it for everyone else. If faith/religion helps even one person overcome great tragedy in their life or overcome depression, then it is a worthy cause. However, religion has also been the source of huge wars throughout history. Literally billions of people have been murdered because they observed the wrong religion or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time during religion-related slaughter. Hell, just recently we’ve had radical, fundamentalist Muslims commit jihads in the name of Muhammad. This seems like a net negative on humanity.

            “It is clear that you don’t understand it is not about our goodness that gets us into heaven because we (including me) could never be good enough. I deserve hell. But it is what Christ did and if you believe those accounts and Who He is then by His grace we are saved from what we deserve.”

            Wow, so then it doesn’t matter what our actions are here on Earth? So if Joe decides to murder 1,000 people, then he will still get into Heaven because of what Christ did and because of Christ’s grace? That seems pretty messed up to me. I’m also confused about why a guy who lived literally two millennia ago and who we have very little information about besides likely apocryphal stories (unless you have proof of Jesus’ supposed feats) is treated so majestically. He must have had great PR!

            “So it is not about hanging anything over anyone.”

            I never said anything was about hanging anything over anyone. What is this in response to?

            “He is not a kill-joy God.”

            Yeah, I also never said god was a killjoy. I sense a straw man theme here.

            “My guess is you too have been so disappointed in life that you cannot see beyond your own human intelligence”

            Actually, I have to say that I’ve lived a pretty lucky life so far! A lot of wonderful things have happened to me, but nice assumption there. Do you think someone could only possibly not believe in god because their life has been disappointing? That’s a really sad perspective and the inherent implication is that everyone who believes in god lives an amazing life. That’s clearly not true. I can see beyond intelligence, but thanks for thinking I can’t.

            “for that reason I will not argue with you about any r elitism theories.”

            Huh? What “elitism theories”? What even is an elitism theory?

            “I would encourage anyone to examine my words by seeking the truth rather than believing your bully- like responses hold any merit.”

            I wholeheartedly agree! People should definitely 100% seek truth. What is true about god? Here is what we know about god: s/he is an omnipotent, all-seeing, all-powerful, mystical being who resides in Heaven and controls everything that happens. S/he also created life and the universe. If s/he is so powerful, you think it would be quite easy for him/her to come down briefly and show everyone that s/he exists, right? I mean, s/he’s done WAY more difficult things than that in his/her existence. Why not come down here and really show the atheists and non-Christians what’s what? Oh, don’t worry, I know you already have a convenient explanation about “god’s plan” and “that’s not how it works” (even though if god is really the being you think s/he is, then we puny humans could never comprehend how god works). This is only tangentially related, but do you think we have free will? Because believing in the existence of god means you think we don’t have free will. After all, if s/he’s omnipotent, then s/he decided what everyone would do long before they ever existed, right? S/he made the world and gave everyone life and decided exactly what everyone would do for eternity. So really, god, by his/her own rules, is responsible for all the despicable acts every human being has ever committed. That’s pretty messed up! Whether or not god exists, I’m not sure I want to believe in this god anymore. Also please don’t use ad hominem attacks. I politely responded to your comment, and in response I get called a bully. Good to know my response both did not hold any merit and you simultaneously appreciated my feedback.

            “I am not angry with you and only expect you to respond in this way.”

            Great to know! I am also not angry with you! In what way? Calmly providing logical counterpoints to extreme religiosity?

            “I am called to respectfully respect your opinions and to love and pray for you (even though I don’t know you personally).”

            Great! I’m glad you respectfully respect my opinions. I also respectfully respect your opinions! Wow, you must be such an awesome person to love and pray for me even though you don’t know me personally! I also wish the best for you in life, which is the same exact thing, but without the unnecessary religious component. You see, it’s possible to wish the best for your fellow human beings without believing in an imaginary man in the sky who controls everything but who we have no proof exists.

            “As Christ followers we are not promised a life of easy living but our faith and hope goes beyond our natural senses. It’s a bonus when God’s blessing are tangibly visible. But even when they are not – He is still God and forever faithful.”

            As an Invisible Pink Unicorn follower, I am not promised a life of easy living, but my faith and hope goes beyond our natural senses. It’s a bonus when the Unicorns’ blessings are tangibly visible. But even when they are not – They are still the Unicorns and forever faithful.

            “Like me – there will come a day when you will take your last breathe.”

            I think you mean breath. Breathe is a verb.

            “It may be sudden or it may be slow enough for you to call out to someone or something bigger than you because most face death with rear fear and regret.”

            You’re totally correct. Death is the scariest thing any human, nay, any living creature, can face. It is literally the end of consciousness and existence. It is nothingness. That’s why I totally understand why humans several thousand years ago invented religion: in order to help them cope with death. That makes complete sense to me. But I like to think we’ve moved forward at least slightly in those couple thousand years. Enough to be able to confront death and realize that we don’t know that there’s anything after. Maybe Heaven and god exist! My only point is that we can’t know that for sure. I choose not to believe things that have been made up and have no proof, but everyone else is free to do whatever they’d like to. I fear death, and I’m sure the end of my life will not be fun. However, I hope I won’t need to make up deities to make myself feel better about ending my consciousness.

            “For those who refuse to believe this is your “heaven” so enjoy it now. For us as Beleuvers this is as bad as it will ever get for us here on earth. Glory!”

            WAIT A HOT SECOND! What happened to “It is clear that you don’t understand it is not about our goodness that gets us into heaven because we (including me) could never be good enough. I deserve hell. But it is what Christ did and if you believe those accounts and Who He is then by His grace we are saved from what we deserve.”??? I thought christ did all that stuff for our sins and that god loves me too? So I’m going to get into Heaven regardless, because I would never be good enough for it, if you’re not. Thankfully, christ helped us out on that front! Let me just tell you right now, I am already very excited to continue this conversation in Heaven! See you there in a while! We can discuss this for eternity when we arrive!

        •  by  Wendy

          CK I am not sure with your last post that bc you combined my statements with your response that it will not allow me to reply or if in fact a moderator has deterred us from continuing on that thread. Nonetheless less – I want to apologize for anything that I have said that came across as offensive or condescending. And in one area I wasn’t calling you an elitist I was attempting to spell revolutionist when referencing theories.

          I guess for me I thought I was attempting to respond to your statements without having an attacking tone. I feel your responses are just that. But I will accept responsibility in setting a defensive tone even that is not my intentions. I am honestly not trying to dodge your questions but honestly as an unbeliever you’re not saying anything new that hasn’t been said a zillion times before.

          I have no desire to banter with you to when some religious argument. It is clear you have not read or study any books of the bible. We have differences of opinions and I am ok with that. Because at the end of the day – if my faith in God was for not and I die and there is no heaven and hell – then that’s it. But if there is and the God of this universe is the only One true God – I will enjoy eternity with Him and my other brothers and sisters in Christ and you – eternal death – never ending sorrow and pain. For believers or pain and suffering is temporary. I believe this and you don’t. Ok. There is nothing I am going to say good or bad defending the Faith or otherwise will keep you from further attacks whether it’s your intentions or not. My purpose was to not really defend a faith base movie as much as I wanted to defend God and what He is about. But sometimes the best defense is no defense. He doesn’t need my help in a bantering this way. Again I am sorry. So Mr. CK as they say on the show Shark Tank…”I’m out!”

          Best wishes…

          •  by  Wendy

            I also want to apologize for typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes my thoughts get ahead of me trying to hen-peck type on my phone. 🙂

          •  by  CK

            I just quoted portions of your comment and then made my response to them underneath. Is that what you’re referring to or something else? No worries. Oh OK, revolutionist is very different from elitist, I understand the typo. To rewrite your sentence with the typo fixed:

            “My guess is you too have been so disappointed in life that you cannot see beyond your own human intelligence and for that reason I will not argue with you about any revolutionist theories.”

            What are revolutionist theories? This is a genuine question coming from my curiosity – I’ve never heard revolutionist used like that in the context of a discussion on religion.

            “honestly as an unbeliever you’re not saying anything new that hasn’t been said a zillion times before.”

            To be clear, my intention is not to say something knew. People have been arguing about religion for millennia. To say something completely new on the topic, I’d either have to be extremely original, attack it from a very odd angle, or perhaps be some sort of genius that thinks of something no one else has ever brought up before. I don’t think I am/I’m doing any of those things, but I bring up anti-religion arguments that have been echoed many times because in all of my conversations with religious people, they dodge my logical questions and just fall back on things like “belief”, “faith”, and “god knows/does everything, he has a reason for everything, we don’t know his plan and we can’t know it”. I find that reasoning anti-intellectual, extremely tiring, and circular simultaneously. If you want to go solely off belief/faith/prayer and use confirmation bias to harden your beliefs, then go for it. But I encourage you to logically deconstruct religion and what it’s asking you to believe. Do you need to believe in god to be a good person? Does there need to be a promise of Heaven/threat of Hell in order to give to charity, help the homeless, and generally be a good person? Does believing in god provide something to your life that would feel empty without him? I’ve already brought up this point, so I’ll be brief in going over it again, but I truly believe that not believing in god and still being a good person is more powerful. I believe that people don’t need a false, all-powerful diety to be good. They are inherently good.

            “I have no desire to banter with you to when some religious argument.”

            It’s fascinating to me that no religious person will have a serious debate about their beliefs and the philosophical implications of them. Critical thinking is definitely a good trait to have IMO.

            “It is clear you have not read or study any books of the bible.”

            Not only have I read the bible, but I’ve studied it extensively. I grew up a Christian (was baptized, first communion, was confirmed, the whole nine yards), and that’s exactly what caused me to become non-religious. The absurdity of the whole idea boggled my mind and, the more I critically examined it, the less sense it made to me. I also studied Religion in college (one of the majors my college offered), so I have critically broken down a number of religious texts, and definitely the bible. The best way to counteract religion is to truly know it. Some of the stuff in the Old Testament is truly batshit psycho crazy and indicative of a culture that is several millennia old.

            Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19

            Ye shall not round the corners of your heads. Leviticus 19:27

            All that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 9:10

            Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. Exodus 23:19

            When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Deuteronomy 25:11-12

            Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Ephesians 6:5 NLT

            I could keep going, but I think that’s a good smattering of examples right there. This is clearly just a very old culture. We don’t have slaves anymore. We don’t care if clothing is made from two different materials. We don’t care about “rounding the corners of our heads”. I think most people, even Christians, think it’s OK to eat fish. And we don’t cut off women’s hands at a moment’s notice anymore. Furthermore, homosexuals are much more welcomed in society now (though not by all people, most notably many religious people). Is it really such a stretch to think that perhaps these people who obeyed these now-seemingly silly customs 2000 years ago also may have invented god in order to gain power? I mean, they were pretty primitive.

            “Because at the end of the day – if my faith in God was for not and I die and there is no heaven and hell – then that’s it. But if there is and the God of this universe is the only One true God – I will enjoy eternity with Him and my other brothers and sisters in Christ and you – eternal death – never ending sorrow and pain.”

            Again, I encourage you to read up on Pascal’s wager and the issues with the philosophy behind it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager. I’ve already discussed the issues with it at great depth, so I won’t get back into that. Do you not see how saying I’m going to suffer from neverending sorrow and pain might be a bit insulting/personal? I’m not claiming that you’re going to be tortured for eternity or anything.

            I have a question separate from how you believe in god and I don’t: I thought that god loves ALL humans because he created them all, right? And Jesus died for our sins, because all humans are inherently sinful (which implies that there’s a problem inherent in all human beings, another thing I take HUGE issue with, but I digress). So if god loves me and Jesus died for my sins, doesn’t it not matter if I believe in god or not? I’m still going to go to Heaven. Just to be safe, I could not believe in god all my life, and then just ask for a pardon for my sins right before I died, and I’d still get into Heaven right?

            “There is nothing I am going to say good or bad defending the Faith or otherwise will keep you from further attacks whether it’s your intentions or not.”

            I’m not trying to attack the faith. Merely question the grounds it comes from. That’s interesting that that can be interpreted as an attack – just asking questions. Perhaps Christianity would prefer that its followers blindly follow its teachings and give money weekly at mass, rather than question its tenets.

            “He doesn’t need my help in a bantering this way.”

            I agree! God doesn’t need help. Because he is fictional. 🙂

            No worries on typos or grammatical errors.

        •  by  Hope101

          Hi CK,
          I just wanted to answer a question you posed in one of your responses. You asked:

          “I have a question separate from how you believe in god and I don’t: I thought that god loves ALL humans because he created them all, right? And Jesus died for our sins, because all humans are inherently sinful (which implies that there’s a problem inherent in all human beings, another thing I take HUGE issue with, but I digress). So if god loves me and Jesus died for my sins, doesn’t it not matter if I believe in god or not? I’m still going to go to Heaven. Just to be safe, I could not believe in god all my life, and then just ask for a pardon for my sins right before I died, and I’d still get into Heaven right?”

          We believe, according to the Bible, that yes, Jesus died for ALL of our (yours, mine, everyone else’s) sins, and that yes, God loves you. However, the Bible clearly states that unless you come to the Father, through believing in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you, truly believing that He died for you, truly believing that you need a Savior, truly believing that He is the Son of God and put your faith in Him, then no, you will not go to Heaven anyway when you die. Those who reject Christ do not automatically go to Heaven when they die. So yes, Jesus died for you too. But it matters not if you don’t receive his sacrifice. If you don’t believe that He died for you, then He does not know you and you will not be with Him in eternity.

          Jesus said if you reject Him, then you reject His Father who sent Him. The Bible makes it clear that we are all enemies of a Holy God, all deserving of hell, until we accept Jesus as our Savior. God is loving, but God is also just. He is Holy. He is righteous. And just like a just judge on earth much punish crimes and see that justice is served (or he/she wouldn’t be fit to be a judge), God is a just God; He is a judge; and He must punish sin. We all have sinned. We all sin sometimes. However, we will not all be ultimately punished for our sin. Those of who have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins will not be judged for our sins when we die. Jesus’s shed blood paid the price for our sin and covers our sin. Those who reject Christ do not have that covering. Jesus died for your too, but if you don’t care, don’t believe it, don’t think any of it is real, then you will be held accountable for your sins – a hefty price to pay. Jesus paid for my sins because I could never make it up to a Holy God. Sin offends Him. However, the Bible teaches that because He loves us so much, He sent Jesus to save us because He does not wish that anyone would perish and die in their sins. He is patiently waiting for more and more to turn to Him. But if you refuse, then you refuse. It’s your choice. But please do not believe that you will “get into Heaven” if you reject Christ. It doesn’t work that way.

          To answer your last question, the problem with the idea that “Just to be safe, I could not believe in god all my life, and then just ask for a pardon for my sins right before I died, and I’d still get into Heaven right?” is that you do not know when you will die. Death could be instantaneous – it is for many people. A horrible car accident that takes your life in a moment. Some people, young and old, go to bed after having a great day, making plans for what they will do tomorrow and never wake up. They don’t get a chance to make those plans tomorrow. What if you don’t have time to even form that thought? I suppose one day you could unfortunately suffer from a lengthy illness and know that death is near, then you would have time to think those things. And if you genuinely cried out to God and ask for forgiveness of your sins and really believed it, meant it, and accepted Jesus right there as your savior, then yes, God would absolutely forgive you and you would not go to hell, regardless of how you lived your life prior to that moment. But God would know if you were serious and genuine or if you were just saying it as a “just in case” formality. He looks at our hearts. If you didn’t mean it, He wouldn’t accept it.

          I hope this helps. Thanks for asking genuine questions.

        •  by  Shelly

          Yes. I can give you an example, or as many as you ask for.

          1. Most Recent. My friend’s brother in law was in the hospital with stage 4 Cancer. I went to the hospital with her and prayed, laying a hand on his shoulder. I prayed for healing. God heard me and answered. 3 days later the doctors could find no trace of the cancer and he was back to work a week after leaving the hospital.

          2. I was going blind with glaucoma. A whole group of people prayed for me. My sight was restored as good as new and all the pain completely went away.

  6.  by  John White

    I’m sorry that you think people’s religious actions, even praying out loud and fervently when they’re alone in the house, is something you think folks should find funny and neighbors should come out and look confused about. I’m sorry that you think this film was unrealistic because it portrayed characters who were “ham fisted” in their evangelical witness and not “subtle.” I suppose you think it more realistic to keep people’s religious beliefs to themselves and only hinted at with metaphor and nuance. But the people in this film really do exist as they are portrayed. And the “silly” (as one commenter remarked) and “unrealistic” events of the movie are neither silly nor unrealistic. I have experienced all of the things that happen in that movie, or seen them actually happen (praying down a mugger, causing someone to be unable to do what he wants to through prayer, seeing God change people’s hearts within days of praying for Him to do so). One cheating family member of mine turned his life around watching this movie just last week, and the wife who had already left him came back home. I have lived with a cheating spouse before, so I know the pain. This was a real, solid change.

    This movie is not made to convert non-believers. It’s made to inflame those of us who do believe to live what we believe and to pray as we know we should, with conviction.

    Unrealistic? How about a movie in which gasoline is such a scarce commodity that people are willing to die to get it, but they waste gasoline wantonly throughout their mad max adventures? Do movies like that get bad reviews for simply being stupid?

  7.  by  Max

    The last sentence was hilarious! Keep up the good work, Christy!

  8.  by  Scott Grimsley

    i read your review with interest because you, like many folks, do not believe in the power of prayer and therefore reject the premise of the movie a priori. This is unfortunate because I think it colors your judgement on the artistic merits of the film. Many critics, who celebrate independent films usually, thrash on movies made from an explicitly Christian worldview. As a Christian, I can appreciate the technical and artistic merit of films, even when I disagree with their message. I rarely see the opposite. But that is human nature. I invite you to be more open minded in the future.

    •  by  CK

      Isn’t it possible the movie was just poorly-made, regardless of what one feels about the power of prayer?

  9.  by  jozielee

    How lovely to see you have so many faithful followers, Christy, who seem to love this film. Truly enjoyed your review and their response to same. Will be back from time to time. Somehow I don’t think the faithful (of which I am one) have finished talking about this movie.

  10.  by  Lindy Ford

    Thank you for your honest review, Christy. I agree with you that the movie was hard hitting into the evangelical ballpark. It also think it was a little too neat and tied with a bow at the end–Tony “magically” becomes a new man in the span of a week? Really? That rarely happens in real life. I also know that prayer has power because God is real. We think we may not need Him, We do, every last one of us. Yes, I’m a Christ follower, but I don’t check my brains in at the door. I realize the limitations of the movie, but the box office is resonating with the fact that people need something bigger than themselves. What Jesus did for us was real and big whether any of us believes it or not. Thank you again. lindy

  11.  by  Sarah

    Christy, can’t decide whether or not to take you seriously. You don’t have a website and you don’t have a picture posted- indicating your cultural cowardness. Yet, you’re posting, amatuer at best, movie reviews to communicate your “expert” opinion. Maybe you need a “magical negro” to swoop in and jump start your struggling career as a movie critic.

    •  by  CK

      “You don’t have a website and you don’t have a picture posted- indicating your cultural cowardness.”

      We’re on her website right now and her picture is in the banner at the top? Is this satire or a joke?

  12.  by  CLC

    “once again perpetuating the notion of Christian persecution.” The NOTION of Christian persecution? Might not happen that much in the USA (at least to the point of shedding blood…yet), but have you been following the news about ISIS lately? Wake up, Sleeper. It’s happening. And, with attitudes like yours, it will be on our shores sooner than later.

    •  by  CK

      Christians have done way more persecuting than they’ve been persecuted in recent times. How about we get rid of all religion so humans don’t keep coming up with stupid reasons to hurt and kill each other?

  13.  by  Jesus Christ

    Sorry about all my followers they’re a bunch of nutjobs that think I have magic powers.

  14.  by  Bob

    I was very upset the other night. I watched something called Twilight, and was shocked to find it was about vampires. I don’t like vampires, so my plan is to write a scathing review about the movie because I didn’t like the subject.

    Do you see that’s what you’ve done? Written a review based purely on the subject, which isn’t your cup of tea.

    •  by  CK

      Nice straw man argument there. You’re COMPLETELY misconstruing the piece. Did you even read it? The reviewer disliked it because it was a ham-fisted portrayal of faith/prayer, not because of the subject matter. You know, it’s possible to dislike a subject matter and SEPARATELY dislike the way the subject matter was portrayed in the story.

  15.  by  Juliegirl

    Hey don’t know praying in your prayer closet until you’ve tried it. You know what they say, if more people would spend time in their prayer closet, they wouldn’t ever come out of one.

  16.  by  Juliegirl

    If you’ll go into your closet and pray, you won’t be so likely to come out of one

  17.  by  Mike

    I want to point out how many christians in the comments for this movie on Rotten Tomatoes have lashed out at the critics who have bashed this movie. I think that if you call a critic a “libtard” you show a disturbing hostility to intellectualism. The seething hate of these religious America haters affected me so much that I felt compelled to comment. This movie spreads a false message to impressionable young people, simply because prayer has absolutely no power. Just like you can’t “pray the gay away” you can’t pray your way to a better marriage. The best way to have a good marriage is to really find out what a real relationship is. To set a rule for yourself that you can’t have sex before marriage is to make the goal of finding a real relationship near impossible. How many christians get married in a fit of sexual tension in their teens or early twenties only to have their marriages fail? The answer is NOT more christianity. God is not some mystical creature in a white chariot who will ride into your life and help you out. Even christians are supposed to know that god helps those who help themselves. I believe that many of the christians who have commented here hate America, you can feel it in your heart when they lash out at “Straight Out of Compton” or at “libtard” critics who have told it like it is and exposed this movie for what it really is, a vile piece of propaganda from and for a dying breed of anti intellectual anti-Americans. If you love this movie, you hate America. If you are thinking of going to see this movie, stay home and watch “Paris, Texas” on youtube tonight instead, that is a beautiful piece of art that will inspire you want to have a good marriage, because it shows you how deeply two people can alienate themselves form each other even when the most powerful love exists between them. Don’t let a piece of garbage like this haunt your feelings about love and marriage, they are the only important things in this life, they are your life. Your career is not your life. I find it disgusting that people will set out to make a movie like this that glosses over what love really is, and makes it seem as though it can always work out if only you pray. That is truly an ugly and destructive message.

    •  by  IceTea

      I have experienced the power of God and prayer in transforming my marriage just recently. I have experience for myself the power of prayer in so many situations. You have not. I am sorry that you have not, but for those of us who have had this experience, this movie and the topic and details did not seem out of line, weird, or wacky. They seemed believable and like what we have seen and experience for ourselves. What more can I say? I assume that one who hasn’t experienced what I have, might think the way you and this reviewer do about the movie. So I get why you don’t get it.

  18.  by  Suzanne

    Let me preface my comment by telling you all that I am a Christian….however, I saw the movie last night and I unfortunately agree with most of this review.

    First off, i think its safe to assume that the reviewer is not a Christian. If that be the case, she is telling us her honest thoughts on the movie. If we are trying to reach people with this stuff, then shouldn’t we listen to the way they are viewing or hearing our efforts and to a reasonable extend, try to adhere? Or should we be angry, dismissive, and belittling? When I read something that a non-christian rights that goes against the bible, it makes me sad but when I see the responses by “christians” that are mean, hate filled, and non-understanding, it makes me angry. And sad. And gives me a sense of defeat. Please get into a church that teaches you how to have grace with other people and that will hold you accountable when you’re being a jerk.

    Okay, so, the movie…I wish I could say it was great. It just wasn’t. I appreciate their zeal for wanting to help others but I think this movie was overbearing. I think it would be a great testimonial to hear about but not a great idea for a while movie that is supposed to be entertaining. Priscilla Shirer was beautiful and I think she did a good job but sometimes I feel so bad for the actors in these movies because I feel they could do better if they didn’t have to follow some silly parts in the script.

    I’m sure that this movie motivated some and help some realize their need for Jesus but, speaking of defeat, I feel a little defeated everytime a Christian movie comes out and I feel like it’s a flop. Why can’t christians make something that seems more authentic? Not so cheesy?

    As far as some of the criticisms on prayer. First, if these people aren’t Christians and have never prayed and had an answered prayer, of course its silly to them. Be understanding of that. At the same time, my prayers don’t usually get answered right away like that. I was cracking up when the guy “put down the knife in Jesus’ name!” Can that happen, sure….God can answer that prayer and/or the guy could just be so confused or feel guilty and just run away BUT probably not…that’s what screws a lot of people up. They think God is some personal genie and will give you whatever you want, when you want it. Say he didn’t put the knife down, he went through with it and they ended up dead…what then? That stuff happens. It’s real. People, (including Christians) die every day. Christians all over the world are being killed for their faith…how do you answer that. In America, we’ve warped God into what we want Him to be. When you feel God doesn’t come through, you are hurt and disillusioned. Afterall, how should you feel when a perfect God has failed you? But how can he fail to deliver a promise that he never promised. Please, instead of going to movies for your theology, read your bibles and get into a church that is solid and reads their bibles. Some people will always think that Christians are stupid, crazy, or silly but let’s try to eliminate all unnecessary ridiculousness and certainly all hatefulness so that they have less reason to think these things and so that maybe we can actually help people and reach them. Why would anyone want to approach and grow close to someone who is mean and belittling? Come on Christians…cut the crap.

    •  by  Suzanne

      Wow, rereading my post, I am sorry for my lack of correct grammar and use of proper punctuation. Yikes! Must be because I’m a Christian… Haha

    •  by  Christy Lemire

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, Suzanne!

  19.  by  Onix Rodriguez

    Haven’t seen the movie yet. Waiting to get it digital HD on Dec 8, my birthday.

    Just want to know if by any chance Christy (the “critic”) walked out of the movie in the part where they start cast demons out.

    =D