Emotional, Captivating Entertainment
Release Date: September 30, 2011
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 126 minutes
Distributor: TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Alex Kendrick
Producer: Stephen Kendrick
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman
Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Affirm Films/Provident Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000; Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
The movie opens with an African American man, Nathan Hayes, pumping gas into his truck. When he turns his back, a gang member steals his truck. He runs after it and grabs the gang member through the window. An extremely exciting battle for the truck takes place, ending with [SPOILER ALERT] the revelation that Nathan’s son was in the back seat.
Nathan has just transferred from the Atlanta police department to the small town where he grew up, Albany. The police department in this town is very friendly, with a lot of camaraderie, but faces a growing gang threat.
Adam, played by Alex Kendrick, is the de facto leader of three close friends in the police department. Nathan joins their group. While Adam is a great policeman, he’s a less than great father. He wonders at Nathan’s courage in running down the truck to save his son. He won’t run with his teenage son, Dylan, who desperately wants him to run the father-son race. He won’t dance with his daughter.
When she gets killed in a car accident, he goes through incredible grief. Slowly he realizes he must be a better father to his remaining child.
Adam’s realization gets his three police friends as well as the Hispanic carpenter working for him come to the same realization they need to be better fathers. However, they face tremendous problems in being good fathers. The rookie admits he’s fathered a child out of wedlock whom he has never seen. Another friend, Shane, has a divorce. Each one has issues to overcome. Some issues prove to be insurmountable. The finale is a stand up and cheer moment.
COURAGEOUS may do for fatherhood what FIREPROOF did for marriage. It has some extremely poignant, heart-wrenching moments. In fact, this is not a three hankie movie, but a whole box of hankies movie. Wisely, the powerful poignant moments are mixed with some of the funniest moments you’ll ever see. There are scenes with witty dialogue that are absolutely hilarious, as well as terrific physical comedy.
That said, structurally COURAGEOUS is not a complete story. The actual story resolves too soon. Also, there are several scenes that take the story in another direction, but illustrate a valid point about being a father. For instance, the scene with Nathan giving his daughter Jade a promise ring to help her understand his loving protection and concern is worthwhile, but breaks the flow of the major plotline. Moreover, some of the scenes are repetitive. In fact, when studied carefully, the movie could be seen as an illustrated sermon.
In most cases, MOVIEGUIDE® would lower the star rating for the failure to adhere to a classic, effective, emotive dramatic structure, but COURAGEOUS is not most cases. Like CHARIOTS OF FIRE, it breaks the rules but it captures the heartstrings. Thus, in many ways it’s a unique, great movie.
Fathers and mothers will be deeply moved by COURAGEOUS. The acting, dialogue and direction is the best yet in the Kendrick brothers movies. Some younger moviegoers may not get it entirely, but it’s a powerful movie that calls for revival of fatherhood.
Stephen Kendrick, one of the two Kendrick brothers who has produced, written and directed several movies, gave a powerful introduction to COURAGEOUS in a private screening. In doing so, he told about some of the great blessings of FIREPROOF. One was a woman who walked out on her marriage 27 years earlier, saw FIREPROOF, tracked down her former husband, and reunited with him. Neither had been married since then.
Stephen says, as the church was praying for their next movie after FIREPROOF, God kept impressing upon them the collapse of fatherhood. Fathers are absent in a large percentage of the American family. In African America families, almost three-quarters of the fathers are missing. Stephen said this is like the man falling asleep at the wheel of his car, with the wife desperately trying to keep the car on the road.
The Kendrick brothers pray for God to reveal the story to them. As He does, they write it down as notes and pray to organize them properly. Their movies are proof that God intervenes in the lives of men and women. They are to be commended for their vision, their compassion, their passion, and, most of all, their faithfulness.
COURAGEOUS may do for fatherhood what FIREPROOF did for marriage. It has some extremely poignant, heart-wrenching moments. In fact, this is not a three hankie movie, but a whole box of hankies movie. Wisely, the poignant moments are mixed with some of the funniest moments you’ll ever see. Structurally, COURAGEOUS breaks some rules, but, in spite of that, it works.