COURAGEOUS (2011)

TMG Scale 8.5     P Factor 0.0     MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring? No stars, but lots of very good actors. Don’t worry.

Fatherhood is under fire from all sides. Which side are you on?

This film might have been better titled A Few Good Men, but that title from 1992 is still far too associated with Tom Cruise and the epic demand “I want the truth!” I wonder how many people will embrace the truth in this effort? TMG was really tempted to give this film a 10.0 for its pure message, but I had to give it a rating haircut (unfortunately like all the guys sported in this film) because it was a bit drippy and preachy at times. That’s allright though. Life can be a bit drippy at times too—it just does not always make for incredible cinema.

SPOILER ALERT: This is a Christian based film with real Christians and people who believe in God, family, children and always doing right. If that portends to offend you, don’t see this film. On the other hand, if you are open minded and are even thinking of having a child someday, you need to see this film. And for a $2 million budget film that has already grossed more than $ 22 million, not only should Hollywood film producers take note, so should the independent film industry. Look what Emilio Estevez did recently with The Way.  News Alert: Christianity is popular!

Four Albany, Georgia cops struggle with their demanding and often ugly jobs,  being fulfilling spouses, inspiring Dads and doing the right thing. Adam is  the more senior guy with a 9 year old daughter and a mid-teen son. David is the young rookie. Nathan is the Black man from a tough past with a young boy and a fifteen year old daughter. Nathan is the thirty something divorced Dad. Life is always a struggle but nothing compares when one loses a child to a drunk driver. Now everything gets questioned.  One can now just lash out and hate God…or they can find a new meaning and cause to life.  TMG has encountered  this fork in the road at least twice in life. You can refocus or you can cop out—so to speak. You can find meaning and build upon tragedy, or let it eat you up inside. This film takes you on a mission of a man who tries to find meaning and take others with him. The key? You have to be willing to accept the ride,….figuratively…. or quite literally in the back of a police cruiser.

There are a few subplots about how life can come your way if you only put your faith in God. That does not mean it has to be boring or not funny. I found myself laughing more in this film of nobodies than my recent  snooze through The Big Year with Jack Black and  comedic great Steve Martin. There is a very funny scene of mistaken identity between Adam and a Mexican named Javier who is supposed to show up and help build a backyard shed. You should also note an amazing likeness between Adam and Dan Aykroyd.

I was amazed with such a low budget how well the foot and car chases were filmed. However, I was appalled to see four veteran sherriff deputies issue a dangerous arrest warrant and not even wear vests, properly clear a house or handle a firearm. Mistakes happen in low budget films.

All Dads and Dads to be (meaning all men) should see this film.  It less provides a guide to fatherhood as it provides a stern warning. Fatherhood is not to be taken lightly. Proceed with great caution over this incredible responsibility. Your life, the life of your children and perhaps the value of society itself hangs in the balance. If it helps to seek out other Dads, talk about it or even sign a formal resolution to follow a righteous path to fatherhood, then do it. Being a father, more so being a good Dad, is so far more than producing a child. Men need to stand tall for the challnege. This movie asks you to take that challenge.

Joy Lynn: I did not think the movie was preachy at the beginning, but became more so near the end.  It could have ended thirty minutes earlier.  The message was clear without making the film over  two hours long.There was not a dry eye in the theater and most of the patrons were men!  You could hear them all clearing their throat repeatedly. In large contrast, I too  laughed outloud at the very funny scenes between Adam and Javier.

The purpose of a father is teach values to their children, give them direction and  guidance on how to live their lives. Children who hear they are loved and wanted by their fathers grow up feeling more secure and confident in who they are.  I believe Fathers are intended to be the head of the household; the leaders.  This movie is a wake up call for all Fathers to take fatherhood seriously and to model for their children in a Godly manner.

 

 

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