mtl Movie Reviews by The Dove Foundation
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness
Runtime: 120 minutes
Starring: David A.R. White, John Corbett, Shane Harper, Ted McGinley, Jennifer Taylor, Tatum O'Neal
Director: Michael Mason
Sex: A couple kisses a few times.
Violence: A brick is thrown through a church window, and soon a fire is ignited and does great damage to the church; a man is killed inside the church; paint is sprayed on a church sign; two men fight and struggle with each other for a few moments, and a man is punched and seen with blood on his mouth; another man has a bruise near his eye; a man attacks a young man but then stops.
Drugs: A man is seen drinking beer a few times in the movie; college students are seen drinking at a party in a couple of scenes; a comment about a "crack head"; a "buzz kill" comment.
Nudity: A girl is seen in a bathing suit in a pool a couple of times; a man is seen in shorts.
Other: The differences today's church and liberal thinking must navigate; tension between characters; a man dies and there is great grief; a man harbors unforgiveness and bitterness; an abused wife divorces her husband, and the son struggles with how the church reacted to it.
Faith: Several examples of the scriptures and practical faith are included in the film.
Integrity: A few characters struggle with what is the right thing to do, and they ultimately do what they believe God wants them to do.
Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) responds to the unimaginable tragedy of having his church, located on the grounds of the local university, burned down.
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness portrays in a gritty and realistic manner the struggles between today's society and the church. Pastor David Hill (David A.R. White) has been at St. James church since he was a kid; in fact, his dad pastored the church. Now, he is confronted by Hadleigh University and even his friend, Thomas Ellsworth (Ted McGinley), who represents the college. Ellsworth and the college want to enforce an eminent domain policy and seize the land the church is built on in order to build on to their college. Pastor Dave isn't ready to leave, and so—the fight is on!
Pastor Dave calls on his attorney, brother Pearce (John Corbett), to fight the college on his behalf. One underlying problem is that Pearce has strayed from his early Christian faith and wonders if the college shouldn't be built in place of the church. But he stands with his brother and brings a lawsuit against the college. The plot thickens as a young man who had a bad experience with a church when his mother went through a divorce throws a brick through the church window at night. But when it strikes the gas knob, a gas leak ensues. A tragedy follows when Pastor Dave's co-pastor, Jude (Benjamin A. Onyango), turns on an electric light which ignites an explosion. Pastor Jude is killed.
The film navigates through several challenges the characters face, including—and most importantly—the inward struggles. The young man who threw the brick through the window, Adam (Mike C. Manning), can't get past his feelings of guilt after an innocent man died. His Christian girlfriend, Keaton (Samantha Boscarino), broke up with him before the deed, and now, after he confesses his crime to her, attempts to help him. He must decide whether or not to turn himself in. Pastor Dave struggles with anger issues, toward his friend, Thomas, for pushing the college's agenda. And he has anger issues over the death of Pastor Jude.
There are two powerful themes which are potently portrayed in the picture: forgiveness, and the thought that "God is good—all the time, and all the time—God is good," even when we don't understand the struggles of life and things make no sense. The point is well made; we need to give God time to work his plan. We are pleased to award God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness our Faith Friendly Dove Seal for ages 12+. This is the third in a series of films with the theme that God is not dead. The movie provokes strong thinking on timely issues—do we fight for our Christian faith? Is there a time that backing off and pursuing another plan makes sense? Do we need the help of others to navigate the stormy seas of our lives? What do we do when God seems to be on vacation? Is God good, even when things are bad? This movie takes a serious look at these questions and must be seen to be appreciated. And the new name the church gets is perfect. Watch it to see what I mean.
Dove Family Approved: Recommended For Ages FF12+
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