While Alex Kendrick has opened the door for more family friendly movies to a Christian audience more, he also shows that they have a long way to go before they can branch outside of the audience they know will view a movie in this genre. Facing the Giants will be loved by the people who want a more conservative movie that shares the Christian faith, and for others they may not find too much they like about it.
Grant Taylor is the coach of a losing football team, and the losing streak has now put his job at risk. He feels it is crucial he can’t lose his job though because his wife wants to start a family with him, and his car is about to break down. Not only that but there are the countless house repairs. After finding some encouragement in his faith from God he begins encouraging his team with his faith. His team begins looking upward though, and begins turning to the same source of inspiration that Taylor has found. If his team can continue to do well it might save the reputation of the football team, and save Taylor’s job.
Most will get the movie because of the Christian message. Others will get the movie because they notice it’s a sports movie, and we know how Remember the Titans flared up the craze on those. Then the rest might be curious viewers after hearing the buzz from fans of the movie. While the approach that Kendrick took in the movie is admirable it isn’t really an excuse to hire people who can’t act, and portray everything in a very one dimensional manner. Also, just because you direct the movie doesn’t mean you should star in it either.
The message is inspiring, and for some Christians they might appreciate seeing characters struggle and then find some hope. Most things are cleaned up too tidily, and most of us know that once we solve one problem another rears it’s face. This movie makes it feel sort of like a Joel Osteen moment when the characters all turn to God, and then find life is good. The message isn’t just that they find Christ, and try to make the best of situations that most likely wouldn’t change afterward. You do care about the characters, and hope things turn out well for them of course. Even though you struggle past the acting you at least do care about how it ends up for them. It just seems like they sold an unrealistic portrayal of how following Christ can be. You only have to read the stories of Job, and Paul to know that struggles are still present despite your belief.
The encouragement they try to present is appreciated though. Kendrick tries to bring adult situations that are more true to life, and put a faith spin on it. Kendrick’s entertainment business is set up in the south, and you get the vibe heavily while watching his movies. The assumption is that is where the majority of his movies do well too. For a guy who probably doesn’t have a huge budget though he does have some good skills with editing, and the shots. He just needs to try to find better actors. Also, you will notice that the husband and wife never kiss in the movie. Unlike, Kirk Cameron, Alex Kendrick didn’t have his real life wife to stand in to even include scenes where he was pretending to kiss her. It’s understandable, but very obvious. They do somehow pull off enough chemistry to make their marriage seem real though.
Facing the Giants should be viewed keeping the audience it was meant for in mind. Christian families wanting to bring a family that can be safely viewed around the family in the house. While Kendrick probably hopes this will share the message of Christ to others it seems to sell a message of finding Christ, and then your life problems going away, and that isn’t exactly true. Your trust may be invested in Christ regarding the situation rather yourself, but jobs, finances, family, and marriage are all still there and still aren’t easily navigated. It’s not really a movie that most kids would enjoy as the content is mostly appealing to adult struggles. It’s more so a movie for adults to not feel nervous about viewing around kids. Kendrick has the ability to grow over time in his approach to making a movie though.
Rating 3 of 5.