If you’ve been hearing about the resurgence of Christian films in theaters, it’s largely due to the recent success of “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s undoubtedly one of the best films this year.
But there is another movie just as good and just as important. It is “God’s Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness.”
Whether you’ve seen the original “God’s Not Dead” movie or the sequel, this third outing is the best of all. The original was a smash hit in its own right just four short years ago. The original went on to earn over $64 million at the box office against a $2 million production budget.
It was the faith movie that set off a new round of interest in financing and marketing faith-based films. “God’s Not Dead” woke up Hollywood and audiences and helped pave the way for future films dealing with Christians struggling in their faith journey.
Coming on the heels of the smashing box office wake left behind by “I Can Only Imagine,” the third outing for the “God’s Not Dead” series is finding itself in choppy waters as it competes for a limited faith audience. I wish this wasn’t the case. This movie is my favorite of the three “God’s Not Dead” franchise.
Why do I like this one so much?
It’s got every element of a good movie: a compelling storyline that matters. It’s entertaining, engaging, humorous and has great performers. John Corbett (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) as Pearce gives an outstanding “understated” yet evocative performance. He shines in every scene, playing off lead actor, David A.R. White as authentic siblings on screen.
The main characters convey so much truth in such few words. My favorite is: “Without grace, we’re just fighting.”
More than the production values we crave in a good movie, “God’s Not Dead 3” has something that most films do not. It’s got heart and soul.
The key protagonists — a pastor, a student, a rebel, an advocate and a school administrator — are confronted with the main issue of “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people (or institutions)?” How each of them deals with this question, good and bad, provides a realistic portrayal of the human condition.
Every person in the audience will be affected by this film. They will see themselves portrayed accurately, with compassion and with empathy. That kinship with an audience is rare for a film to achieve.
Best of all, and perhaps most remarkably, “God’s Not Dead 3” is not preachy. It is redemptive, without being maudlin or ham-handed. It is loving, without being cloying. It is forgiving, without being sappy or overly sentimental.
Please go see “God’s Not Dead 3” this weekend. Your attendance will help determine if we’ll get more great movies like this one.