Last weekend the Hubs and I went to see God's Not Dead. I couldn't stop myself from watching it with a bit of a critical eye, partly with the intention of writing this post. This article does contain mild spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, read at your own risk.
The Acting is Good
So many times evangelical Christian movies get a rep for bad acting. It's not completely undeserved, although the ones I've seen have gotten better over the past few years. The acting in God's Not Dead is good, though. The most stilted moment is the Newsboys cameo, but even that isn't distracting.
This isn't surprising when you consider you have a cast that has considerable on screen experience. It looks and feels like a "real" movie. You might walk out complaining about the movie, but I don't think the acting will be the reason.
The Story is Believable
Don't let anyone tell you this doesn't happen. It uses the storytelling tactic of exaggeration to get to the heart of the story faster, but faith being challenged in a college classroom is very, very real. If you can't find someone with a personal story to tell you, just check out the list of court cases the movie was based on. It's the longest part of the credits and will blow your mind.
As for all the subplots? Yep, they're all realistic, too. I've heard similar stories on a regular basis.
They handled the theology well.
Unless God's already working in your life, the movie won't compel you to declare Jesus your Lord and Savior. While the Gospel message is presented, what I think the movie does really well is raise the right questions. I think there's a lot of people who would come away from this movie with more questions than answers, but I think that's a good thing. If we don't have questions, we can't seek answers.
My favorite part of the theological sections was that Josh didn't rely on people's testimonies to defend his faith. Yes, personal testimonies are crucial to an understanding of God and His grace, but Christianity is not a mindless faith. Josh uses science and logic as well as personal connection. He also doesn't claim to know everything, but searches to find the answers.
It isn't perfect, but it's still good.
For me, the biggest drawback of the movie was that it started a bit slow. It's a story with a lot of threads that weave together, and the creation of those threads takes a while.
Overall, though, I was impressed with the movie. I enjoyed it and feel confident it's going to be impacting lives for a long time. I know I will be keeping an eye on Pure Flix to see what they put out next.
You can find out more about the movie on the official website.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think?