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FRESHMAN YEAR

"When You Take a Fall, Rise Up!"

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What You Need To Know:

FRESHMAN YEAR presents an impressive, courageous storyline for Christian faith-based movies. It’s about the temptations and sins of college life, as well as grace, forgiveness and renewed faith. After his first college drinking binge, freshman student C.J. finds that his love-interest, Marcella, is pregnant. C.J. must renew his Christian faith to follow through on his commitment to Marcella and the baby. With parental support, can they start a Christian family?

FRESHMAN YEAR draws on a skillful script, believable acting and careful direction to create serious drama that engages viewers. It delivers a strong Christian, biblical worldview with realism, conviction and grace. FRESHMAN YEAR deftly chronicles all the family reactions on both sides, as well as C.J.’s strong sense of responsibility and unshakable pro-life stance. It’s the candid conversations with their parents, though, that transform Marcella’s heart. The movie’s pro-life worldview stresses the sacred quality of human life. Sincere prayer scenes, sermons and references to family Bible study also provide excellent modeling of Christian living. However, scenes of alcohol consumption, partying and adult conversation in FRESHMAN YEAR merit caution for older children.

Content:

(CCC, BBB, H, Pa, V, S, AA, M)

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Christian, biblical, moral, pro-life worldview, illustrated by a Scripture-laced valedictorian graduation speech at a Christian

Foul Language:
No foul language, but there are two vomiting scenes

Violence:
No depicted violence, but some threats of violence from a slightly over-protective brother

Sex:
Implied intercourse after talk of showering together results in an unwed pregnancy, the movie’s main issue, and there’s some talk about sex outside of marriage

Nudity:
No depicted nudity, but there’s implied nudity when an unmarried couple showers together

Alcohol Use:
Alcohol use and abuse is depicted as undesirable through Christian commitment, but alcohol use and drunkenness are depicted in social situations

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Lead female’s older brother is over-protective of his sister and exhibits some anger issues.

More Detail:

FRESHMAN YEAR is an impressively courageous take on a rare subject for Christian faith-based movies: the temptations and sins of college life. The main character C. J. is a faith-filled pastor’s son and graduate from a private Christian high school who idealistically attends a state university whose residence hall and social life culture wears prohibitions down. With a skillful script, believable acting and careful directing, along with top-notch production values, FRESHMAN YEAR delivers its redemptive message with realism, conviction and grace.

C. J.’s faith and strong family upbringing, portrayed in the opening scenes of FRESHMAN YEAR, are quickly challenged by a partying dorm roommate, a faith-adverse sociology professor and an alcohol imbibing basketball team captain. Then there is Marcella, whom C.J. runs into, both literally and figuratively, in all these venues and more. Marcella catches C.J.’s eye on the way and into sociology class. While at basketball tryouts, Marcella is in cheerleader tryouts. When Shawnte, C.J.’s roomie, goes party-hopping, Marcella is at the coolest one with her girlfriends. Finally, when C.J. is invited to the honor of matching vodka shots by the hoops team captain, Devvon, Marcella shows up at the bar to watch over C.J. as he dives into his first experience with alcohol.

C.J. can barely walk after the shots, and Marcella holds him up as they stagger to her place. Having soiled his clothes from “losing his lunch” a few times, she sends him to the shower while laundering his duds. He invites her to join him in the shower, and it’s implied that C.J. loses his virginity.

Six weeks later, it’s Marcella who is “losing her lunch” during sociology class. As C.J. steps in to take care of Marcella, her roommate insists on a pregnancy test, and all three of them ponder the “positive” result. From thereon, even in the initial shock of that moment, C.J. steps up to declare his intention to help Marcella with the baby. Though appreciative of C.J.’s support, Marcella isn’t sure yet what she will decide to do about the pregnancy.

FRESHMAN YEAR deftly chronicles all the family reactions on both sides, as well as C.J.’s strong sense of responsibility and unshakable pro-life stance. It is the candid conversations with their parents, though, that transform Marcella’s heart. Marcella’s mother confesses that she considered an abortion while carrying Marcella, all because her husband and father of the child had left her. However, her gratefulness that she gave birth to raise Marcella and her brother far outweighed any other considerations now; she weighs in to support Marcella giving birth.

When introduced to C.J.’s parents, Marcella is not only warmly welcomed, but offered a room in their home, medical coverage and a family ready to help raise the child over the long haul. Overwhelmed by their generosity and Christian response, Marcella chooses life.

FRESHMAN YEAR is a soulful, sensitive, exceptional production. The script is well-rounded and comprehensive in its coverage of the subject matter. Worthy of special mention is the private conversation that C.J.’s parents have with each other as they consider all the various feelings, implications and responses to the awkward situation their son finds himself. The storyline also includes fascinating angles of American ethnicity, as C.J.’s father and congregation are of Nigerian descent, while Marcella’s family is Hispanic. The cast grasps their parts with professional finesse. Director, producers, and cinematographers do a fabulous job of making the viewer feel as if they are present in each scene. Best yet, the love story developed between C.J. and Marcella is at the same time as innocently irresistible as it is profoundly serious, making FRESHMAN YEAR an endearing watch.

FRESHMAN YEAR promotes a very strong Christian worldview, literally from start to finish. For example, the movie opens with a Scripture-laced valedictorian graduation speech at a Christian high school. Also, the final scene is in a church worship service, where C.J.’s father gives an inspiring mini-sermon on Proverbs 24:16 about falling a seventh time, yet rising up a seventh time. FRESHMAN YEAR also reinforces the importance of prayer and Bible reading. In addition, it promotes pro-life convictions and delivering on one’s commitments.

In contrast to this positive content, a sociology professor promotes humanism. Also, the movie depicts the two romantic leads being surrounded by pagan hedonism. As a result, FRESHMAN YEAR has scenes of alcohol use and partying, plus the multiple conversations about sex outside of marriage. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.

A sequel to FRESHMAN YEAR was being released in August 2023 and is titled SENIOR YEAR: LOVE NEVER FAILS.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.