If you like faith-based movies, then you’re going to love March. That’s because three high-profile faith films will release on three consecutive weekends this month.
Here is a quick rundown:
I Can Only Imagine (PG, March 16) – Made by the same filmmakers behind Woodlawn and Mom’s Night Out, this one tells the story behind one of the most popular Christian songs of the modern era. It also shows the humble beginnings of the group behind that song, MercyMe.
MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard wrote the song after his father – an alcoholic who beat him as a child – became a Christian.
“It’s an incredible true story behind the most played Christian song of all time,” said co-director Jon Erwin. “His dying wish was to reconcile with his son, and it was that reconciliation and redemption of that relationship that inspired what’s brought hope to millions of people.”
It stars newcomer J. Michael Finley as Millard, Dennis Quaid (The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow) as Millard’s father, and singer Trace Adkins (Mom’s Night Out) as Millard’s manager.
I Can Only Image is rated PG for thematic elements, including some violence.
Paul, Apostle of Christ (PG-13, March 23) – He wrote nearly half the books in the New Testament, but few movies have been made about the Apostle Paul.
Paul, Apostle of Christ is being released by AFFIRM, the same film company that released War Room and Miracles from Heaven.
Writer/Director Andrew Hyatt said the film picks up on Paul’s life after the apostle has been convicted and is awaiting execution. Paul’s friend, Luke, sneaks into Rome to bring him comfort. James Faulkner (Downton Abbey) plays Paul, while Jim Caviezel (The Passion of The Christ) plays Luke.
In the film, Hyatt said, Paul reminds Luke and his fellow Christians that “it all began with Christ.” Hyatt said the movie also tackles the question: How did Christians live amidst persecution and still exhibit love?
Christians of all denominations will enjoy the film, Hyatt added.
“This is just the Gospel. There is no agenda,” Hyatt said. “… I completely believe that this is going to be for everybody.”
Hyatt understands the hesitancy by Christians not to trust Hollywood with Bible films. But this one is different, he said.
“This is a film by people who believe the Bible just as much as they do,” he said.
Paul, Apostle of Christ is rated PG-13 for some violent content and disturbing images.
God’s Not Dead: A Light In Darkness (PG, March 30) – It’s the third film in the God’s Not Dead series, although – like the first installments — it’s being billed as a stand-alone movie. This one tells the story of a pastor who fights to rebuild his church after a deadly fire destroys it. The catch? The church building was located on university property – and the school believes the congregation should move elsewhere. Not wanting to give up, the pastor (David A.R. White) acquires the help of his estranged brother Pearce (John Corbett), who is an attorney and an atheist. The pastor’s faith is tested as he faces the age-old question: Where is God when bad things happen? It’s being released by Pure Flix.
Veteran actor Ted McGinley (Do You Believe?), a Christian who has worked on previous Pure Flix projects, said the tone of the newest God’s Not Dead is different than the first two. The filmmakers’ goal was to be fair to the “other side” and not present atheists “as this boogeyman in the corner.” McGinley has a major role in the movie.
The film’s plot also is timely, said McGinley, who pointed to the many divisions within contemporary culture.
“This is sort of a mirror of all of us, in that we often can’t even hear the other side because we’re so pumped up to get our point across,” he said.
God’s Not Dead: A Light In Darkness is rated PG for thematic elements, including some violence and suggestive material.
— by Michael Foust
Foust is a movie critic, a husband, and the father of four small children.