PG for some thematic elements
Sept. 29, 2006
Alex Kendrick, Shannon Fields, Chris Willis, Tracy Goode, Jim McBride
Alex and Stephen Kendrick
Samuel Goldwyn Films, Destination Films
In providing movie reviews on our site, CBN.com is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.
Facing the Giants
By Hannah Goodwyn
- Not many indie films that make it to the big screen are ones families can watch without being afraid of what they see or hear. That’s what’s so unique about Facing the Giants, which opens in movie theaters next week.
The amazing thing about this one is that most of the people who worked on it aren’t professionals, but volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. It is a movie with unknown, unpaid actors and pastors who are the movie’s director, producers, and screenwriters. The only outside help received was from a few professional videographers who taught them how to shoot a film.
The idea for the movie came from two brothers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who are both associate pastors at the church. It’s actually their second feature film. They produced Flywheel, a film about a wayward car salesman, in 2003. They continue their mission to show others how God can interact with us in this new flick.
Facing the Giants follows the personal struggles of High School Football Coach Grant Taylor (played by Director and Co-Writer Alex Kendrick). Coach Taylor is faced with the possibility of losing his job because his football team doesn’t win, feelings of betrayal and inadequacy, infertility, and his house and car are falling apart. At the end of his rope, Coach Taylor, like Job from the Bible, resolves to trust God no matter what happens to him.
The Kendrick brothers made this film to spread the message of faith in Jesus Christ and the positive impact we can have on others. Strong Christian themes are in abundance, and many scenes contain explicit references to the Bible. Coach Taylor even uses verses from Nehemiah about building a wall to motivate his defensive line to stone wall their opponents on the field.
Audiences will see a real life testimony of God’s power and mercy in Facing the Giants. It has a lesson for everyone to learn from trusting God when you feel like your situation is hopeless to honoring your parents.
Another strength is its cinematography. Kudos to those in charge of what we see on camera. You’ll see it best in the exhilarating football sequences and when Coach Grant talks with God in a field close to his home. Facing the Giants also provides viewers with some great movie moments, particularly in the “death crawl” scene. Its raw, powerful emotions are moving and inspirational.
This movie has a strong faith-based storyline, but therein also lies a weakness. The dialogue can be distracting at times. Watching a movie puts you in another world, no matter what the genre of the film may be. The flow of Coach Taylor’s story is disrupted by a few instances of poorly written lines during poinant scenes that snap you back into reality.
Some things could have been better: the beginning and the acting. The first part of the movie is a little slow, but that’s soon forgotten as the story starts to pick up a third of the way in. Also, the lack of acting talent is vaguely evident and the story is predictable at times. However, the inclusion of some much-needed comedic relief by the two assistant coaches and others are a great add to the story.
Most movies have one objective – to make money at the box office. Not so with Facing the Giants. It was made solely to encourage believers and reach out to those who do not profess faith in Christ.
Unfortunately, this movie may be limited to a narrower audience than the producers want. There’s no doubt that Christians will be entertained and blessed by the heartwarming story. However, non-Christians may not be as receptive to it because of its religious overtones. Then again, as we see so wonderfully portrayed in Facing the Giants, God can do anything. In fact, 284 people have already committed their lives to Christ after watching a preview of the movie, according to an article published on AgapePress.org.
It's a family-friendly movie sans profanity, intense violence, and sexual references. There’s nothing that would be inappropriate for children to watch. But, viewers younger than pre-teen age may not get most of what the film is about and the hard-hitting football action may be too much for small kids.
The fact that Facing the Giants was a grassroots project done by a church is amazing. Filmmaking is no easy task, but Sherwood Pictures produced a success in this new film. Although it’s not Oscar-winning caliber, it’s an uplifting movie most viewers will enjoy.
Picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films, Facing the Giants is set for limited release in 400 theaters across the United States on September 29, 2006.
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