When an entire
theater breaks into spontaneous applause at the closing credits, it’s probably a
film I’ll want to recommend. And see again.
The title (if you somehow
haven’t heard that ‘The Case for Christ’ is the title of a best-selling book)
might make a viewer think the film is some kind of documentary.
This is no
documentary, but rather an intense, gut-wrenching drama. Based on a true story,
an award-winning investigative journalist and self-proclaimed atheist sets out
to disprove the existence of God after his wife becomes a Christian.
Lee Strobel’s passion
and drive will resonate with anyone who has ever felt determined to be
vindicated. Even as a Christian, I genuinely sympathized with this man as he worked hard to gather
evidence and disprove Christ’s resurrection. Strobel is logical to a fault, and
to this viewer, logic is his — and the film’s — strength, ironically. I applaud
the filmmakers for letting us follow Strobel at every turn and allowing us to
see what he discovers at every angle and crossroads of his investigation,
through the eyes and mind of a man driven (and earning a living) to believe
nothing but instead “check it out.”
The writing and acting
are superb—on par with Hollywood's best. L. Scott Caldwell (Alfie) was genuinely
convincing as the “happenstance” heroine who suddenly plays a pivotal role in the
Strobels’ life and future. Christensen (Leslie) and Vogel (Lee) quite naturally
give dimension and heart to a couple that could be real—and just so happen to
be. We (I speak for the entire theater, I think) loved them instantly.
The acting and
writing also offer a refreshing break from 'Us Against Them' faith-based storytelling. There is no atheist/Christian stereotyping here—just a family who
loves each other struggling with a sudden cross-purposed core value in their life. Conflict intensifies as the couple’s opposing beliefs become unavoidable.
Powerfully genuine. Powerfully emotional.
And powerfully true.
It’s a deeply personal
story, one that can’t help but touch every viewer on some level. If you’re not
a Christian, be prepared to process some mind-blowing, indisputable facts. If
you’re a believer, be prepared to hear evidence of Christ’s resurrection you
may not have known.
This is not a faith
film that preaches (to the choir or anyone else), uses unnatural dialogue, or tiptoes
around the rawness of reality—the weakness, self-indulgence, and resentment
humans are so capable of, believer or not. There is without question a need for
clean, wholesome, family-safe, faith-friendly storytelling, and I don’t mean to
say that this film is not clean or appropriate for family viewing. But it is
also not a story created for the sake of offering a well-meant but sometimes inferior
alternative to Christian viewers. This is a gutsy detective story that takes an
unrestrained pickax to Christianity’s core root in an attempt to uncover truth and and comes away with not only a love of truth intact, but something far, far more precious. It will move, entertain, and leave viewers breathless. And applauding.
10 stars, Highly recommended. And bring tissues. -Camille
A Pure Flix Entertainment release of a Pure Flix, Triple Horse Studios production. Director: Jon Gunn. Screenplay: Brian Bird, based on the book by Lee Strobel.Stars: Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway
A few weeks ago, while I was babysitting my grandchildren, my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter and I hung out while baby brother napped. She wanted us to color, so out came the sketchpad which was already full of her "sketchings." She asked me to draw an Octopus, so I scrawled one out quickly, because, you know, the attention span of a preschooler. I asked her to name him and suggested we tell his story (storytellers can be so singularly focused...).
She agreed and asked for more creatures in our story and insisted that Oscar, the Octopus, needed a Mommy, and that Chickie, the Seagull (whom she also named), needed a baby. I dutifully obeyed and quickly scrawled out all the characters in our tale, with no more than a line or two of story on each "page."
I am a Plotter, not a Pantser, which, if you are a writer, know is the subject of debate and dilemma. I am not one to come up with a story by the seat of my pants but rather spend a great deal of time plotting and planning. So I was pleasantly surprised that we actually came up with the basic nutshell of a story. I chalk it up it to the inspiration of an intelligent child with a short attention span and a deep appreciation for family (she thoroughly adores her old baby brother and is surrounded by loving relatives).
The Story in a nut seashell: Hero wants something. Hero sets out to get said something. Hero has a dark moment, followed by an epiphany. Hero is rewarded for his perseverance and lives happily ever after (or HEA to us word nerds). All told in 8 pages, with just enough text per page for the big reader to finish reading aloud before the little reader is done looking at the picture and is turning the page.
Hello, Flash Fiction. :)
So this is how Oscar the Octopus, the tentacled little trooper, was born. The story is available on Kindle for .99, so take a minute download it and see what a novel-writing Grammy, a smart little cookie, a used sketchpad, and a handful of colored pencils created, and all while baby brother slept.
“The romantic tension sizzles nearly from the beginning, and readers will often find themselves breathless from the sheer delight of it. The message of redemption is conveyed with such poignant elegance that it will linger long after turning the last page.”
-Carrie Townsend, RT Book Reviews, 5 Gold Stars, Top Pick"I had the pleasure of reading this book and it instantly went to the top of my all time favorites list. I won't share much about the plot as it's just way too fun to discover so I'll just say this - I started it at noon and finished it a bit after midnight and somewhere in between HAD to cook dinner and sort of have a life (which was really difficult!) so OH BOY...this book was so fantastic. Absolutely no surprise that it got 5 stars from RT book reviews. It's one that I read on eBook and plan on getting in paperback as well to have on my keeper shelf and to share with friends!"
-Joanne Bischof, Author
The Memoir of Johnny Devine is a dramatic story-within-a-story of a bad boy reformed and a good girl in need of reform. It’s a powerful tale of love, redemption, intrigue, and the miracle of deliberate grace.
RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME: I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.
I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)
They let me playBass guitar and sing in a worship band.
I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.
I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.
I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.
I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)
MY ROOTS: I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.
Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.
There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.
NOT RANDOM:I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.