War Room: Movie Review
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Following a series of recent controversial Supreme Court rulings, sexuality issues in the news, and more than two years of increasing racial tension across the United States; a new movie offering a solution to these issues seems to be coming at just the right time.
From the creators of highly-successful faith-based films Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants, comes War Room, a story that doesn’t feature intense police car chase scenes, perilous firefighting, or tenacious death crawls across the gridiron. Instead, viewers are presented with a fierce battle between husband and wife. Smaller in scale than its cinematic predecessors, the Kendrick Brothers make sure War Room packs a powerful punch in its exploration of using prayer as weapon rather than a crutch.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Tony (T.C. Stallings) and Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer) seem to be living the American dream. They both have great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and a sparkling dream home in the country. But beneath this shiny exterior of lives well lived are serious issues destined to boil over. Tony only has eyes for his climb up the corporate ladder and the potential dalliances his success can bring. Realizing this, Elizabeth resigns herself to a life of harboring bitterness and resentment for the sake of their daughter. Their failing marriage experiences an unexpected twist when Elizabeth’s newest client, Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), challenges her to develop a battle plan of prayer to save her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for the soul of her household, Tony’s world begins to unravel. Her newfound prayer life and his resistance to living life God’s way are on a collision course. Only Miss Clara’s wisdom and some divine providence can save their marriage from becoming just another statistic.
THE GOOD AND BAD IN WAR ROOM
Director Alex Kendrick and writer/producer Stephen Kendrick have once again crafted a thought-provoking movie that will speak to the hearts of many. Unlike their past projects, the Kendrick Brothers have ventured into new territory by featuring a primarily African-American cast. They are quick to point out that ultimately War Room is not a black or white movie, but a compelling story whose message will relate to everybody on a variety of different levels.
A hallmark of every Kendrick Brothers movie is their intentional use of humor. War Room often soars as several laugh-out loud moments are interwoven into the fabric of the very serious topic of a failing marriage. Stinky feet, lukewarm coffee, and a potentially poisonous meal are just a few of the comic devices used to bring levity to the big screen.
In her acting debut, well-known Bible teacher Shirer absolutely lights up the screen in War Room. What she may lack in experience is hard to detect as her charismatic presence carries the movie at times. If she so chooses, Shirer has a very bright future as an actress.
Conversely, Abercrombie powerfully communicates the Gospel message through her character, Miss Clara. People will undoubtedly be inspired and challenged to live out what the feisty octogenarian is preaching through her words and deeds.
Stallings returns to appear in his second Kendrick Brothers movie. Playing a gang leader in 2011’s Courageous, the former pro football player brings a genuine feeling of authenticity as Elizabeth’s corporate climbing husband Tony. Comedian Michael Jr. rounds out the central cast as Tony’s best friend and wise-cracking foil.
It is hard to discount a message that exemplifies everything that is right about Christian cinema but War Room struggles at times to be inclusive of non-Christian audiences. While people of faith will be delighted with the topics of strategic prayer and marriage restoration, the movie’s dialogue becomes highly preachy at times. Admittedly, it is a difficult task to find the proper balance between being purposefully evangelistic to general audiences and merely “preaching to the choir” of a highly committed base of believers.
War Room snaps and crackles along at an enjoyable pace for about the first 50 minutes of the movie but suddenly bogs down as a new sub-plot emerges involving the owner (Alex Kendrick) of Tony’s company. However, while this new development slows the movie down considerably, it does lead to one of the most suspenseful moments in the movie. Well played, Mr. Kendrick.
IN THE END
War Room is a movie that serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that prayer can have on our everyday lives. It is a poignant example of God’s willingness to extend grace and mercy to us even when we feel like we don’t deserve it. Faith, family, and the power of prayer on the big screen … well worth the price of admission.
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