11 March 2011 | chestnutyouth
Theological challenges but worth a watch.
I finally watched this film today after trying to find time over the past two weeks. Here is the review I wrote for http://ChristianDocumentaries.Wordpress.com (strangely enough I haven't had time to review a documentary for the site.
I've been meaning to see this film for the past two weeks and finally made it out today. One reason I wanted to see it was because I heard the trailer for Courageous (http://courageousmovie.com/). A movie I really can't wait to see in September.
I saw this movie at 4:30 in the afternoon (it is a lot cheaper then) and I was the only one in the theater except for an older black lady who came in right as it started. That seemed appropriate considering the nature of the film.
The film had some really great points about it. Most of the acting was was great. I love Louis Gosset Jr. though I must admit he was a bit more rotund than I'm used to seeing him, but he always pulls off his roll well. It was also nice to Stephen Dervan in a minor role. You'll probably remember him as one of the comic relief firefighter's in Fireproof.
I think my favorite actor in this film was Dawntoya Thomason who played the role of Debra, Sam Wright's wife. I don't know if she was really the best actress, but there was something about her on the screen that really just shone through.
The variations in lighting as though showed the two different families really popped out as well. I don't normally notice this too much, but since studying more about film areas like this stick out. I also must say I enjoyed the soundtrack for The Grace Card. Much like the Sherwood films much of the music was contemporary Christian (most sounded similar to Third Day or MercyMe). I'm not usually a fan of CCM but this was all well done with no "poppy" high vocals.
One other great point in this film was the wonderful portrayal of a pastor (in character traits). It was really nice to see a positive impact from a man behind the pulpit. That seems to be neglected in many Christian films.
Like most Christian films it had a few week spots in some the minor characters acting. Most notably I found the Police Chiefs (I think that was his role at least) played by Bob Childers to be a bit unbelievable on the screen. I'm not trying to tear him down, but I just don't think he was right for this role.
The script also had a few challenges as well. It was well done over all, but like most of the new writers (I believe the writer is actually full time in the medical field) he tried to have the characters say too much without just showing it. More than anything it came across when trying to show Mac's racism.
My last two points for this section are more theologically or philosophically based. I want to be clear than many dear saints may disagree with this assessment.
First, while I like the portrayal of the pastor I really was taken back by the fact that neither of the times he is shown preaching does he actually read or quote the Word of God. He talks about experience and says some fine things but unless it comes from the Scriptures it isn't preaching it is just motivational speaking. I realize time is precious in a film as well as flow, but I personally think that would have made those scenes much more powerful.
Second, my biggest fault with this film was the lack of God-centered grace. The theme of the entire film was grace, but the whole time they speak of grace to fellow man and never grace from God. The only reason we can give grace to one another is because it has so freely been given to us on the cross. It is a fundamental point that I felt this movie just lacked. They mentioned Jesus plenty of times, but never explained the gospel and while that is not something necessary in Christian film I just don't get how you have a movie about grace and never show that.
I think this movie is really worth seeing and supporting. While the last two points above really concern me I'm hoping this film does well enough that the writer will create more films and have the opportunity to correct those errors (or at least errors in my view). If you have the chance I'd take the time and money to go out and see The Grace Card.