The Bottom Line: "Time after time you’ve been forgotten Like a picture that’s faded with age Time after time you ran after me When I was still running away" ~Josh Bates
I seemed to have a round of religious movies all at once, the latest being Facing the Giants. It directed by Alex Kendrick, written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. It received no awards or nominations and seemed to be having a bit of controversy regarding it's rating, settling on PG-13 for thematic material. Although this is a movie about sports, namely football, it is centered on religious beliefs, sparking the controversy.
The Story: Grant Taylor is a football coach at a high school in Georgia. He has been a coach for some period of time, with no success. The team, the Shiloh Eagles, ranks pretty far down in the scale with players leaving to attend other schools, just for the opportunity to try to play on a winning team, perhaps get a scholarship. In addition to Grant's failure at coaching, he and his wife have been trying for some time to start a family with no success.
When he overhears the board considering his dismissal, he does something that changes everything - he turns to God for guidance. Not that he had strayed from his religious beliefs, he and his wife were devout believers. What he did was ask God for a sign that would allow him to make a decision about his future at the school. When he received that sign, he turned to the players and offered them a proposal to accept God and turn their lives around. Win or lose, they would be honored to serve God every time they stepped on the field.
The actors: One can't really fault the acting in this film. Well over half the participants were volunteers, with no acting background, from the Sherwood Baptist Church. In addition to acting parts, they supplied almost all the sets and materials used for this production. The main character, Grant Taylor, was played by Alex Kendrick, who also directed and co-wrote the film. He had only one film under his acting belt before taking on this role.
Who were the Giants: They were the #1 team in the area, virtually undefeated for years in the state championship. They were bigger, faster, and stronger than the Shiloh Eagles, but they didn't have Grant Taylor as their coach. Let's just say that, by the end of the season, the Giants were highly impressed with the Eagles.
The production: This was backed by the Sherwood Baptist Church and was meant to deliver a message. It wasn't about winning or losing but about faith. That doesn't necessarily mean religious faith, but faith in your beliefs and dedication to do the best you can do, no matter what you are attempting. The film, however, does carry a strong religious overtone so if that offends you, you probably won't enjoy the movie. I found it similar to sports stories like Rudy and We Are Marshall. I had no problem with the religious aspect of the film at all.
There is a good bit of music involved in this film by some well known Christian groups. The extras on the DVD have full length videos of some of the productions.
DVD extras: commentary; Behind the scenes; interview with Ga. Tech football coach Mark Richt who also makes a small appearance in the film; music video "With You" by Mark Williard; trailer; previews.
Overall impression: I actually found the film entertaining and it kept my interest. I am neither a big football fan or a proponent of organized religion but this film did not rankle either of those feathers. I found the music quite enjoyable and have no trouble recommending this film to anyone.
A losing football coach (Alex Kendrick) is beset with problems both at his Christian high school and at home with a wife who hasn't been able to have a child. Through prayer, praise, and the firm belief that nothing is impossible with God, things turn around. Writer/Director/Producer/Star Alex Kendrick and the Sherwood Baptist Church have created an outstanding film. Though the cast is made up of non-professional actors, they are uniformly excellent as are the script … more
Pros: well-paced, engrossing, gives hope, good acting, enjoyable, family-friendly, audience cheered&clapped Cons: a few slower moments might bore young kids, hard to locate The Bottom Line: This movie was well worth the effort to see in theaters. It brought light into my very dark day. I am seeing it again-and I dislike sports! Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. "Ooohh, NO!" I sobbed as … more