War Room: Review and Reflection

War Room is probably not the best movie you’ll see this year, but it’s definitely not the worst. As far as Christian films go, however, it was one of the best I’ve seen. I found it to be encouraging, inspiring, challenging, and entertaining. Sure, it had its share of cheese, but much of it actually seemed to be intentionally placed for comedic relief. No, the acting probably won’t win any Oscars, but it was better than a lot of the stuff I’ve seen from bigger names budgets lately.  The production value of the film is at least on par with the status quo of Hollywood, and it has a positive message to boot. In the space below I will provide a brief overview of the plot followed by my estimation of the film’s strengths and weaknesses. Finally, I will address some of the criticisms I have heard from other Christians regarding this film and others like it.

Overview: The story centers on Tony and Elizabeth Jordan who, from the outside, seem to have it all: high paying jobs, nice cars, a beautiful house, and a lovely daughter. It soon becomes apparent, however, that there is trouble in paradise; the Jordans’ marriage is falling apart. Things begin to change when Elizabeth meets Miss Clara, an elderly woman who challenges Elizabeth to stop fighting with her husband and to start fighting for their marriage in prayer.

Strengths: One of the greatest strengths of this film is its overall positive message: family is worth fighting for. In an age when so many families are destroyed by divorce, it’s inspiring to see filmmakers challenging a culture that teaches us that it’s easier to throw away and replace broken relationships. From a Christian perspective, I was pleased to see such a strong emphasis on the power of prayer and the principle of trusting God to fight our toughest battles. Additionally, I appreciated the film’s emphasis on both the importance of mentorship and discipleship as well as the impotence of lukewarm faith. Finally, the well-timed and appropriate use of comedic relief helped keep the movie lighthearted and enjoyable.

Weaknesses: I think the biggest criticism that could be (and has been) leveled at this film is a lack of “realism.” In other words, (Spoiler Alert) once the main character starts praying all of the major problems find perfect resolutions and all the characters live happily ever after. If you’ve seen any of the other films the Kendrick brothers have done, this should not come as any surprise. I personally can’t decide whether or not this is a weakness. I’ll elaborate in the following section.

Addressing Criticism: There are some who believe that the Kendrick brothers are promoting the idea that prayer is a magic pill that makes all problems go away or, in a broader sense, that if you’re a real Christian then everything will eventually go your way. I just don’t think that’s what they are setting out to do. I think they are intending to produce visual parables that illustrate the profoundly biblical idea that God works mightily in the lives of those who put their trust him. Sure, the films are romanticized, but what do you expect, it’s Hollywood. I highly doubt the Kendrick brothers would say that prayer will save every marriage or that a Christian will never have any problems if they just trust God enough. I think they would say that prayer is powerful and that God can and does do great things for those who trust him; these are solidly biblical messages and profoundly powerful messages. 

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Share your thoughts below.

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