"Godliness Is Tough"
What You Need To Know:
THE WAGER is produced well. The camerawork, editing and direction capture your attention. Randy Travis is very believable as Michael Steele, and Nancy Stafford as Michael’s sister does a great job. The script loses its focus two or three times, but the movie works overall. It should have clarified the identity of Satan and refuted dualism, but otherwise, it has a very strong Christian worldview.
(CCC, BBB, V, S) Very strong Christian worldview with a preacher asking a question suggesting an equivalence between God and Satan; no foul language; some violence such as man hits another man hard on the nose, a traffic accident, several shots in a movie within the movie with people falling down; no sex scenes but allegations of sexual immorality; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
THE WAGER is a modern day Story of Job. Michael Steele, played by country music star Randy Travis, is up for an Academy Award, but his wife is tired of his job coming first, so she walks out on him. He then hears a radio preacher, John Hagee, who asks what if there was a wager between God and Satan that you lost everything and yet had to live the beatitudes in extreme circumstances.
Within a few short hours, Michael loses everything. The tabloid vultures accuse him of adultery and even worse. His career crashes. Michael begins to see signs of the Beatitudes on the sides of buses and in the hands of homeless people, but when he tries to live them, he can’t do it. He even ends up slugging one tabloid reporter.
Michael’s sister works at a ministry called The Dream Center, which helps the most broken of people. He asks her how he can live the beatitudes. She says, you can’t, you need Jesus Christ. Then, she dies, and Michael needs a miracle.
THE WAGER is produced well. The camerawork, the editing and the direction capture your attention. Randy Travis is very believable in the role of Michael Steele, and Nancy Stafford as Michael’s sister does a great job. The script loses its focus two or three times and could have been fixed ahead of time. It is an idea movie with a great premise, but as Alfred Hitchcock said, you have to turn ideas into story. Overall, however, the movie works very well and the filmmakers should be commended.
There is one cautionary note, but it can be easily remedied if you read the Book of Job in the Old Testament. In Job, God is the creator, the sovereign and Satan is merely a fallen creature who has no divine power. Thus, if you understand THE WAGER in the context of Job, it makes sense, but otherwise some people may mistake the movie’s reference to God and Satan as some kind of false dualistic theology.