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Do You Believe? | Movie Review| Christian Movie Buzz

“Faith, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” –James 2:17

The message of the cross is strong in Do You Believe? The movie opens with the camera panning a city and the narrator telling us that 10 million souls live here, each searching for meaning in their lives: how many will find it? How many will find Jesus? And if they do, what does it mean? It means forgiveness and redemption, but what does it really mean?

As 12 characters intertwine at the cross through various circumstances, they will all face the same question: do you believe? And what will you do about it?

Pastor Matthew (Ted McGinley) delivers a powerful sermon; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Pastor Matthew (Ted McGinley) delivers a powerful sermon; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

These powerful stories, which show the audience what it really means to express the Christian faith in a practical way no matter the cost or consequences, make this movie stand out. In fact, every storyline is written extremely well and intertwines seamlessly with the others. Kudos to Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, the writers. Although God’s Not Dead was a breakthrough film for Christian and non-Christian audiences, the writing in Do You Believe? is much more of the quality of an A-List Hollywood film.

In fact, this film has raised the bar on Christian movies, not only in terms of storytelling, but also in terms of acting. Mira Sorvino gives a heartfelt performance as the homeless Samantha struggling with whether God loves her; Lee Majors is excellent as the crusty but generous-hearted J.D.; and Brian Bosworth’s performance rings true as the ex-con Joe who has found Jesus and the family he always wanted. Having viewed many Christian movies, I have never seen one of this calibre, in which all of the performances, from the main to the supporting roles, are stellar.

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In addition, technically this movie is superb. The directing and editing enhance the performances. The pacing is realistic. The movie is masterfully held together by a sombre tone which you can really feel and which is enhanced by the score.

As a reviewer, I felt engaged throughout this movie and shed tears in the final scene. Even when a miracle occurs (which seems far-fetched even to the doctor), I felt it fit in the movie and was not heavy-handed.

Do You Believe? has broken the barrier which Christian films have been trying to penetrate for years. It is an A-List movie that any studio would be proud to produce. And more importantly, it is the kind of movie you cannot forget, truly touching your heart on all levels.

 

Christian Worldview

(Spoilers ahead!)

In Pastor Matthew’s (Ted McGinley’’) sermon near the beginning of the movie, he paints the cross in his church red and asks his congregation: Do you believe in the cross of Christ? What does it mean to believe? True biblical belief requires action. The cross is a gift paid for by the blood of Jesus, it is bloodstained and painful, and it is our responsibility to share the gift with a dark world. He urges his congregation to go out and share the good news with others.

Most of the congregants share Christ and their homes with the disenfranchised, the emotionally isolated and the homeless. This movie is, in part, a commentary on the homeless situation. Scenes of the homeless walking the streets, sleeping in cars, in shelters, and eating at soup kitchens make the audience realize, as Pastor Matthew’s congregation realizes, that real action by Christians has to take place to address this problem.

Joe (Brian Bosworth) & Lily (); Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Joe (Brian Bosworth) & Lily (Mackenzie Moss); Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Joe (Brian Bosworth), one of the congregants and a leukemia victim, shows up at the hospital and is waiting to be treated for an infection. He meets a homeless woman, Samantha (Mira Sorvino), and her lively but sick daughter, Lily (Mackenzie Moss) and offers Lily his place in line. He shows the love of Christ by letting them stay at his place while he stays out on a bench outside. Joe keeps telling Samantha that God is looking out for her. Samantha’s journey is to come to believe that God really loves her. And Lily’s is the same.

When J.D. (Lee Majors) and his wife Terri (Cybill Shepherd) decide to show the love of Christ by working in a soup kitchen, Samantha’s and Lily’s prayers are answered. Having lost their own child, J.D. and Terri decide to open their home to Samantha and Lily. At the end, Terri says they are now one big happy family, and Lily and Samantha agree, that God really does love them and has taken care of them by finding them a home.

Andrea Logan White plays a determined lawyer; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Andrea Logan White plays a determined lawyer; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Another powerful storyline is the story of Bobby (Liam Matthews) and Elena (Valerie Dominguez). Bobby is a paramedic and Elena is a nurse. Bobby shares the gospel with a dying man, who accepts Christ. Then Bobby learns that he will be taken to court for a forced conversion by the widow of the man he converted if he doesn’t apologize for proselytzing. Bobby and Elena argue about whether he should apologize or face a court battle that will cost him $20,000 and possibly his career. Although Elena is just about to depart from the marriage, Bobby stands firm in his convictions and says he wants to be an example to his children of how a Christian man should act.

The widow uses her ruthless lawyer, Andrea (Andrea Logan White) to remove Bobby from his job and take away everything he has.

In a final climactic scene in which Andrea gets into a car crash, Bobby is there on the scene and saves Andrea’s life. Andrea asks Bobby why he did this to someone who just ruined him. Bobby quotes the bible: “Pray for those who persecute you.” In the end, Andrea comes to see that she prosecuted an innocent man and she too converts to Christ.

 

Biblical Discussion

“Faith, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” –James 2:17

What are some ways you can take action to follow through on your faith? How is God calling you to live out your belief in Him?

 

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