I’M NOT ASHAMED is about Rachel Scott, the Christian student who became one of the first victims during the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado. Rachel grew up in a broken home, with a struggling single mother and four siblings. Rachel’s mother was a faithful woman who prayed daily with her children, but Rachel found more joy in art and drawing. As she grows older, Rachel looks for love in all the wrong places. Eventually, she returns to Jesus, but encounters more challenges during her junior year at Columbine.
I’M NOT ASHAMED is a guaranteed tearjerker. Rachel Scott’s story is one of inspiration, conviction, struggle, and compassion. The movie’s final moments honor Rachel’s legacy, which continues even today. The movie isn’t without flaws, with some dry acting, too many beginnings and a prolonged second act. However, the emotional conclusion makes up for these issues. The movie does contain some violent moments and rebellious teenage behavior requiring caution for children. Otherwise, I’M NOT ASHAMED will inspire many people, young and old, to run to Jesus and cling to the hope He gives us.
(CCC, BB, VV, S, AA, D, MM) Very strong Christian worldview with many moments of praying among friends, families and church members, Gospel witness in a public school setting, redemptive elements within the lives of several characters, including compassion and forgiveness, with strong biblical, moral elements including moments of helping out the homeless and reaching out and comforting the least of these; no foul language; strong and graphic violence including two very angry male students planning a school shooting, those same male students shooting and killing many students on campus, as well as placing bombs throughout the school (some security and news footage of the actual event is shown), several instances of jocks bullying others, and implied self-harm by one teenage girl; implied sex between teenagers, one scene of two clothed teens on a bed interrupted, kissing between teenagers, and several references to sex; no nudity, but some teenage girls dress immodestly; underage drinking, but not condoned; youth smoke cigarettes many times; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes lying, dysfunctional family portrayal, divorce among a few parents, teenage girl sneaks out of her house to go to a party with friends, children are rude and disrespectful to parents, and many instances of bullying, though not condoned.
I’M NOT ASHAMED opens up a small glimpse into the life of Rachel Scott, one of the young Christian victims during the Columbine school shooting in 1999, and the profound difference Rachel made before and after her untimely death.
April 20, 1999 is a day America will never forget. Two male students walked onto their high school campus, bombed the cafeteria and opened fire on almost any student, teacher and staff member they could find. They killed 13 people in total, injuring and maiming an additional 21 people, before taking their own lives. This massacre happened at Columbine High School, and was the largest school shooting of the 20th Century.
Rachel Scott was the first person shot and killed that day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. I’M NOT ASHAMED tells her story from childhood, through her teenage years and up until her final moments.
Rachel grew up in broken home, with a struggling single mother and four other siblings. Although she was raised by a faithful mother who would pray daily with her children for God to provide for their needs, Rachel always found more joy in art and drawing. Art became her escape from pain and helped her create a place to express herself, while other people overlooked her presence.
As she grew older, Rachel began to look for love and acceptance in all the wrong places, and started to mold her identity to the world’s standards. She lets her friends drag her to parties full of high school students drinking, smoking and having sexual relations. At one of these parties, she meets a boy and begins to fall for him, even though he has different intentions for their relationship.
Rachel’s mother finds out about the people and places where Rachel’s been spending her time. So, she decides it would be best for her to spend the summer in California with her cousins. It’s there, away from all the bad influences, that Rachel finds God again. She begins to walk with Him in a new and very real relationship, eager to start high school again with the mission to make a difference on campus.
As the new school year begins, the boy she met at the party casts her as the lead of the school play. The play quickly occupies all her free time, pulling Rachel away from family, friends, church, and everyone that is keeping her accountable and on the right path. It’s at that moment Rachel’s forced to choose between the boy, the partying and the world, or her family, her church and her relationship with God. The decision she makes impacts her life and those around her in unbelievable ways, even up until her final moments.
I’M NOT ASHAMED is a guaranteed tearjerker. Rachel Scott’s story is one of inspiration, conviction, struggle, and ultimately compassion. The movie’s final moments honor her legacy, which continues to be shared all around the world.
The movie isn’t without its flaws, with some dry acting, too many beginnings, and a prolonged second act. However, the highly emotional conclusion makes up for the structural issues. Masey McLain is a pure delight as Rachel. She fully embodies the quirky, kind and deeply pained spirit of this angel. Though the movie has a painful end, it includes many joyful moments too.
Anyone who’s struggled with their identity, faith and desire to pursue the world will relate to Rachel, especially if one went through or continues to go through it in their teenage years. What Rachel learns in the movie is that, regardless of pain, Christians can show compassion to others and, in doing so, be a light for Jesus in a dark world. Equally, she learns through trial that one’s identity is only secure if it rests on and in Jesus. For young people surrounded by various messages seducing them away from the truth of the Gospel, Rachel’s story and journey are more important than ever.
According to Wikipedia and CBS News, “On the cover of the journal she had in her possession on the day of her murder (into which a bullet was found lodged) she had written: ‘I write not for the sake of glory. Not for the sake of fame. Not for the sake of success. But for the sake of my soul.’” Many of her later journal entries reflected a sense of foreboding as to her impending death. One such journal entry dating from May 1998 had attested to her belief she was to die within a year of this date; this entry had included content indicating Rachel’s belief she had accomplished all she could in her lifespan and ended with the words: ‘This will be my last year, Lord. I’ve gotten what I can. Thank you for the light you put in me.’” Rachel’s compassion and love still shines through in a foundation established by her parents, designed to quell school violence, bullying and teenage suicide and called Rachel’s Challenge.
I’M NOT ASHAMED isn’t for everyone due to some of the movie’s mature content. There’s some teenage drinking, partying, smoking, and implied sex, though none of it’s condoned. The movie also deals with hard struggles that teenagers may face every day, like exclusion, bullying, peer pressure, and depression. Finally, there’s a near suicide and two people are shown shot with some blood, so caution is advised.
Otherwise, however, I’M NOT ASHAMED is sure to impact many people, both young and old, to run to Jesus and cling to the hope He gives us.
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