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The Case for Christ: Movie Review

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Lee Strobel’s best-selling book, The Case for Christ, has ministered to millions around the globe in the 19 years since it made its debut.  Treated as a legal investigation, Strobel expertly cross-examined dozens of experts in search of credible evidence to support the claim that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God.  Along the way, he found the answer, not the one he wanted but a resolution that took him from atheism to faith.

This chapter of Strobel’s life takes center stage in the screen adaptation of The Case for Christ, opening in theaters nationwide this weekend.  Starring Mike Vogel (The Help)Erika Christensen (Parenthood), and Oscar-winner Faye Dunaway, the movie is a thought-provoking yet tender glimpse at coming face-to-face with the greatest time-tested truth.


With a well-earned reputation for his relentless pursuit of truth and justice, investigative journalist Lee Strobel was making a name for himself in the newspaper industry.  Recently promoted to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, the 28-year-old Strobel’s future seemed golden, and it was.  It was his personal life that was the problem.  An avowed atheist, he just couldn’t accept the fact his wife had recently found salvation in Jesus Christ.  Rather than trying to make this new household paradigm work, he decides to make a case of it … literally.  Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Strobel sets out to tear down every last tenet of the Christian faith to prove to his wife once and for all that Jesus is just a myth.  In doing so, he comes face to face with some unexpected results.


A well-written, well-crafted drama, The Case for Christ has done a commendable job of interweaving the authentic love story of a young couple struggling with their spiritual identity with what is essentially a 300-page apologetics book.  Director Jonathan Gunn has brought out the best in Brian Bird’s screen adaptation.  The evidence of this is clear as Vogel and Christenson’s Lee & Leslie Strobel are believable as a disparate couple trying to figure out whether their marriage will stand or crumble into divorce due to her newfound faith. 

While the movie moves slowly at times and occasionally lacks sizzle, there is no denying its very strong Christian worldview.  Gunn, who previously directed Do You Believe?, allows the film to bring clarity to many topics like Biblical faith, redemption, and truth.  Doing so allows The Case for Christ to drive home many of the points so essential to the original book while bringing Lee’s personal struggles at home to the forefront. 

Fans of the book will be delighted to find several scenes pulled straight from its pages, none more compelling than the archeological discourse on the authenticity of some ancient manuscripts called “textual criticism.”  Putting an exclamation point on this small portion of the film is a spirited dialogue on whether the Shroud of Turin is actually the burial cloth of Christ.  Goosebumps.

The Case for Christ benefits from a veteran supporting cast that includes Dunaway, Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Mulholland Drive), Frankie Faison (The Silence of the Lambs), and L. Scott Caldwell (Lost television series).  They are well cast and fit nicely into their roles.  Sadly, Dunaway’s role as a clinical psychologist is limited to just one scene.

The movie could have benefited from a bit more humor throughout its 112 minutes to lighten an occasional feeling of heavy-handedness in its presentation.  Nonetheless, The Case for Christ works for its willingness to layer fact upon fact into a narrative that is perfect for a post-screening discussion over a cup of coffee.  This is good news as there has been a bit of trepidation by some over the blatantly faith-infused title.


The Case for Christ is not as slickly produced as its Pure Flix predecessors God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2 but it doesn’t need to be.  Fueled by the very real struggles of a couple trying to come to grips with faith driving a wedge into their marriage, the movie finds its identity in the factual evidence for Christ uncovered by Lee’s investigative journey.  Far from being preachy, The Case for Christ is worthy of buying a ticket for a friend. 

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About The Author


Chris Carpenter is the program director for, the official website of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He also serves as executive producer for myCBN Weekend, an Internet exclusive webcast show seen on In addition to his regular duties, Chris writes extensively for the website. Over the years, he has interviewed many notable entertainers, athletes, and politicians including Oscar winners Matthew McConaughy and Reese Witherspoon, evangelist Franklin Graham, author Max Lucado, Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and former presidential hopefuls Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Mike