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The Case for Christ is Shockingly Good

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Ever wish you could find a faith-based Christian movie that was as high quality as mainstream movies? It turns out that The Case for Christ, currently streaming of Netflix, is actually pretty well done. Here’s our review for Catholic families.

 

by Adrienne Thorne

 

I’m one of those people who typically can’t stand most “faith-based” or “Christian” movies. After years of feeling a little guilty that I found them almost unbearably cheesy and even kind of pretending that I thought they were OK, I finally heard my real feelings vocalized by some professional filmmakers who were also Christians.

The fact of the matter is that, in comparison to even mediocre mainstream movies, the majority of these Christian movies are pretty bad. They often have terrible acting, wooden dialogue, and an over-the-top conversion scene at the end, just to name a few flaws.

So why did I even bother watching The Case for Christ? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why I decided to give it a go, but I thought, worse case scenario is that I waste time and feel embarrassed for the filmmakers (and maybe feel a little better about my own screenwriting skills!). But, I was in for a serious surprise.

 

The Unpromising Premise is Better Than it Sounds

It’s about an atheist journalist in the ’80s whose wife converts to Christianity, after a woman saves their daughter from choking in a restaurant one night and attributes the good timing to God. The journalist then sets out to mathematically disprove Christianity by finding all the evidence against it.

Here’s the trailer (and honestly, I don’t think it looks very good from this rather melodramatic trailer):

 

So we know right off the bat that it’s about Christianity and will be ultimately preaching Christianity’s “rightness” to us. I expected it to do this in a pretty obvious, unnuanced way, in the manner of every Christian movie I’d seen so far. But, while it’s still not something that a non-Christian is likely to stomach, it wasn’t nearly the cliched, one-sided argument I expected.

Instead, it shows atheists who aren’t totally evil people, Christians who aren’t total saints; and (minor spoiler, but it’s kind of obvious …) though there is a conversion scene at the end that’s a bit sappy, it wasn’t too terrible.

The dialogue was shockingly decent, with even some fun witty banter here and there. The acting was pretty darn good. And the production value was fine too. All of which very much shocked me, considering the outwardly smilier films I’d seen in the past.

The other interesting thing about this film is that it actually covered quite a bit of apologetics on proof for the Resurrection. Not what I’m typically looking for in my entertainment, but presented in an entertaining enough way that it was a decent watch while being educational.

 

Moral Issues

It’s rated PG and is obviously pretty clean, at least for adults. But if you’re thinking of watching with your kids, there are a few things of which to be aware.

  • Some verbal fight scenes, one in which the main guy is kind of drunk. Nothing too intense.
  • He does mention prostitutes in a passing comment.
  • And then for young Catholics who aren’t real familiar with the differences of Protestantism, there are a few things that could be confusing. It shows a Protestant service a couple times, like one of those trendy ones with stadium seating. And some talk about how all you need to do is “let Jesus in,” like poof, now you’re headed straight to heaven. And it also shows an adult baptism by a preacher in street clothes that’s done in a river or lake of some kind. All quite harmless for anyone who understands enough about Protestantism, but potentially confusing for littler kids.

 

Overall

I never expected to feel compelled to write a review on a Christian movie. Mostly I just avoid talking about them so I don’t offend anyone with my dislike. But this one was different.

Is it perfect? Goodness no. But it wasn’t bad and didn’t feel like an hour and a half wasted.

For more info, here are the Catholic News Service Review and a review from Common Sense Media.

Adrienne Thorne blogs at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic’s Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.

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Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic screenwriter and mother of two little boys. She blogs about TV and Movies, both good and bad, for kids and adults at thorneintheflesh.com.

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