“Courageous” is clearly Sherwood Pictures best effort so far. It’s a human film of genuine humor and tears.
Tonight, Sherwood Pictures – the ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church – held their Red Carpet movie premiere at Atlanta’s Fox Theater for their latest feature-length film, “Courageous.” You might recall Sherwood from their earlier films, “Flywheel,” “Facing the Giants,” and 2008’s indie hit “Fireproof.”
The movie tells the story of four police officers and their families. In the end the film challenges men to be men of integrity. At its heart, it is a film about fatherhood. It challenges men to rise up to be the husbands, fathers, and protectors that they are called to be. As so many of the actors in the movie told me afterwards, everyone has a father story, so everyone can relate to this film at some level.
“Part of being a father is taking responsibility. Any fool can have a child,” says the character of Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) to younger police officer David Thomson (Ben Davies) in the movie.
The film will resonate with audiences for several reasons. First, the quality and cinematography is outstanding. Second, it’s a powerful film that will have audiences both laughing and crying. Third, it tells a story – five stories actually, as it follows the path of five men as they grapple with questions about fatherhood. Because there are five stories viewers will readily be able to identify with various characters at various points in their journeys.
High art the film is not, but then that isn’t particularly Sherwood’s goal either.
Certainly, the critics will argue that the film preaches or that it’s not artistic. Yet, there is a place in theater for all kinds of films. Christ sometimes used parables, and other times was quite direct in his speech and actions. The film is at its weakest when it’s sermonizing - something all of Sherwood’s films has done - and yet it still works on many levels as entertainment.
The filmmakers admit that they don’t want to be compared to Hollywood. They said that their movies are different. They have a clear message, and they are trying to inspire viewers to strengthen their faith, their marriages, and their roles as fathers and husbands.
“By default, Hollywood has some unwritten rules,” said Alex Kendrick, actor, co-writer and director. “First and foremost it must be artistic, and it must be politically correct. We don’t adhere to those rules. Each time the Lord has given us more fruit in terms of changed lives than we could ever have imagined.”
Whether you agree or disagree, their films have attracted a distributor, an audience, and have changed lives.
“We serve a creative God,” said actor Robert Amaya, who portrays Javier Martinez in the film. “We know that the film is inspiring men because we hear it over and over again in pre-screenings. If we’re helping even one family to grow stronger, we’ve done our job.”
The film will open in approximately 1,000 theaters on September 30th. Go see it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.