Happy Labor Day MMT family! This weekend, I finally made it out to see the now #1 movie in America – WAR ROOM – and I very much enjoyed it. It was on my schedule to see a week after its release, because there wasn’t a screening and it opened on my birthday weekend. However, I couldn’t help but note some of the reviews of the movie by others prior to seeing – and I must address one thing up front before I discuss my take on the film.
It always amazes me how many people go to see a faith-based movie, more importantly a Christ-centered one, and subsequently in their reviews of the film decide that it was too Christ-centered, heavy-handed, preachy – or you can add any other synonym that fits, since I know I’m not the only one who has heard or read them within the past week. What those persons need to first understand is for professing Christians like the Kendrick Brothers – who wrote, produced and directed the film – the immediate goal will always be to highlight Jesus. The preeminent tenets of the Christian faith are Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. There is no downplaying it or substitutions to be made – so if you are choosing to see a film like WAR ROOM, you should accept that these tenets will be discussed, there certainly will be characters who either need to establish or need to re-build a relationship with Jesus, and yes (gasp) there will be prayers/praying and probably a lot of it. If that’s too much for you going in, then WAR ROOM is definitely not your cup of tea. But if you aren’t a Christian, and you can accept what the movie is up front, you are in for a good story – and prayerfully a great experience.
Now with that out-of-the-way, I’ll share a few of my thoughts (sans spoilers) about the film – but let me first give a synopsis. The movie tells the story of a couple in a failing marriage and the ramifications of both their negative actions upon their family. Wife Elizabeth, played by newcomer Priscilla Shirer, is a real estate agent who meets an elderly client named Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) – who challenges Elizabeth to try a different “battle plan,” i.e. prayer, than what she’s accustomed to save her marriage.
I was very surprised to learn that WAR ROOM was the first feature film for lead actress Shirer – who was very convincing as the distraught wife and has a natural comedic sense that garnered several laughs throughout the film. All of the cast worked well for their respective characters, but it was certainly Shirer who most stood out to me. And Abercrombie played the prayer warrior grandmother role to the hilt and garnered a few laughs herself throughout the film – just wait for the robbery scene (I know slight spoiler so I’ll leave it there!).
It is really hard to address much of this story without giving spoilers, so I will summarize it up by stating that it does a great job displaying the effects of positive relationship building, open communication,and most importantly the power of prayer. The “pay it forward” mantra is also displayed – as Miss Clara urges Elizabeth to find another person in which she should invest, support and teach.
What I also enjoyed about my viewing experience of WAR ROOM actually happened before the movie started. I am proud to say that there are at least five faith-based, and I use that term inclusively, movies coming out between now and early next year. I was able to watch the trailers (click links to view) for CAPTIVE featuring David Oyelowo (Selma), The 33 about the Chilean miner rescues featuring Antonio Banderas, HE NAMED ME MALALA the true story of global youth advocate/Nobel Peace prize recipient/Taliban attack survivor Malala Yousafzai, RISEN which depicts events surrounding Christ’s missing body after his crucifixion, and 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN featuring Hayden Christensen. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing every single one of those!
I really would love to hear your thoughts on this one family, so if you’ve seen the film share a comment or two! And for those who are a part of a ministry, church group or the like, the film has a wonderful website where you can download free resources and/or purchase movie companion materials. You can also get additional information about WAR ROOM at the official website here.
Until next thought family, Thomasena