Courageous

Andy Naselli —  September 6, 2011 — 3 Comments

Last weekend my wife and I watched the film Courageous, which opens at 900 theaters nationwide on September 30.

Trailer

About the Film

Thoughts

  1. This is the best of the four films that Sherwood Pictures has produced in terms of filming, acting, and storyline.
  2. It focuses on multiple aspects of fatherhood and depicts that weighty responsibility as a high calling. It makes a strong counter-cultural statement about fathers courageously leading their homes rather than selfishly abdicating their responsibility.
  3. It grabs your attention from the opening scene and keeps it until the end. Good storyline.
  4. It mixes action with emotion and humor.
  5. It connects with cross-sections of people with different ethnicities, stages of life, and socio-economic statuses.
  6. It’s motivational. It inspired me to love and lead my wife and children better and to value them as gracious gifts from God.
  7. It’s a great conversation-starter and seed-planter for evangelism. (I’m not sure it’s likely that a person who is completely biblically illiterate will become a Christian solely as a result of watching this film, though someone who is biblically literate could, e.g., based on this short dialogue.) That’s not a negative critique because there are many advantages to less of an in-your-face approach.
  8. Just like people of varied beliefs may co-belligerently unite on particular issues (e.g., pro-life), people of varied beliefs—not just evangelicals—will appreciate this film.
  9. Unfortunately, some fathers may twist the film’s good message and—like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son—rebel against God “by being extremely good.”   That is, some may embrace moralism and feel good about themselves as they try to earn God’s favor by being good dads. This is not the fault of the film but more a comment about how in our depravity we can be very, very bad by being very, very “good.” We can make an idol out of just about anything—even family.
  10. Groups of men and their older children would benefit from watching this film together and then discussing it afterwards. Fathers would be wise to create safe ways to have tough conversations about taking their responsibilities seriously. As Adam says in the film, “I don’t want to be a ‘good enough’ father. We have a few short years to influence our kids, and whatever patterns we set for them will likely pass on to their kids.”

The Novel Courageous

This book released on August 1:

Randy Alcorn. Courageous: Honor Begins at Home. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2011.

It’s a “novelization” based on the screenplay by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick.

I listened to the 10-hour audiobook the day after watching the film. It’s well-written. It’s about four times longer than the film, so it includes more sub-plots, character development, and details.

Here’s an unused interview about it that Randy Alcorn did with Time magazine: part 1 | part 2.

Here are two clips of Randy Alcorn talking about turning the screenplay into a book:

Update

1. John Piper tweets, “. . . I . . . agree with everything Andy Naselli says . . . .”

Not quite!

Full tweet:

Noel and I saw Courageous and agree with everything Andy Naselli says about it. http://dsr.gd/nm6zV9

2. John Piper and other pastors recommend Courageous.

3. The DVD became available on January 17, 2012.

4. Here’s a music video of “When We’re Together”:

3 responses to Courageous

  1. Wow, thanks for such a thoughtful review, and so many links to hit. This was really informative and helpful to me. Plus, it got me excited to go see the film!

  2. I really enjoyed this review. I was not going to even see the movie due to the bad acting of the previous films, but may go now. I agree that sometimes seeing good moral character can produce legalisim vs. regeneration.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Courageous – Justin Taylor - September 29, 2011

    [...] Courageous hits theaters tomorrow. I haven’t yet seen it, but here’s a bullet-point review by Andy [...]

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