movie review: The Case for Christ
When I first saw the trailer, my immediate thoughts were “oh great, another Christian movie that’ll most likely be awful.” Let’s be honest here, a lot of them are just plain terrible. Only handful of them are good such as Ben-hur, Passion of the Christ, and Hacksaw Ridge. The fact that so many awful Christian movies exist makes the community look bad and embarrassing. I went to a Willow Creek service to see Lee Strobel get interviewed by pastors and said they already saw the movie and thought it was pretty good. Of course that did nothing to change my skepticism because it sounds biased. Lee admits how terrible Christian movies can be but assures this won’t be bad. So I decided to give the movie a chance before immediately writing it off. So how does The Case for Christ stack up? It’s actually quite decent!
I knew of The Case for Christ book for many years since I own a copy of it, but shame on me for not reading it (yet). What really caught my interest was Lee’s desire, as an atheist, to debunk the existence of Christ and the faith. The story starts when his wife became a christian after a friend sharing the gospel with her. This enrages him because this new purpose of life his wife found is taking away her away from him. It’s actually amusing of him to think that she’s cheating on him for Jesus. So there begins a journey of Lee, as a professional journalist, to seek the origins of Jesus trying to find loopholes to prove Christianity wrong that it’s nothing more than a cult. Long story short, he finds enough solid irrefutable evidence that concludes God does exist, Jesus is the real deal, and converts to the Christian faith. There’s a certain theme in this movie that does a fine job depicting truth. When someone looks into a case with presupposition or bias, that prevents them from seeing the whole picture.
Yes, I’m quite surprised the movie was pretty good. Some scenes were well shot especially the cathedral where Lee walks in. The acting was decent throughout. No one annoyed me. The pacing was consistent. Aesthetically, I’m not too sure about this. It takes place in the 1980s so there were some questionable things like the lifestyles during that time. One scene that nearly teared me up was the father and son relationship of Lee and his pops. It’s a very relatable thing for me since I struggle that same issue. What’s interesting is, I never knew that most well known atheist had either abusive fathers or were abandoned by them. This was addressed in the movie by a psychologist Lee meets in the 3rd act of the movie.
As for my criticisms, nothing major but some personal nitpicks. First is how watered down this movie is compared to what Lee’s testimony really was. He described himself as a profane drunkard who would come home and kick a hole in the wall making his wife and kid cry. I guess they really wanted to keep the PG rating in order to make this movie friendly enough to the youngsters. 2nd, I really wish they went into more detail of the evidence that was shown here, but that would run the risk of info dumping making the movie dry and boring. Nonetheless, it went straight to the point. I’ve heard some criticisms about scenes not actually happened in real life, such as Lee’s family in the restaurant incident in the beginning of the movie. Now I haven’t read the book so I have no clue. Whether this was true or not is irrelevant to me because it’s dramatized and the main focus is the investigative journey. For the sake of the script, there had to be a catalyst to get the plot going. There’s not a single movie based on history or biography that’s 100% accurate. If it was, I doubt anyone would had the attention span to sit through the entire thing. Heck, this even includes fictional book movie adaptations.
Other than that, I think this movie is worth the watch at least once, whether you’re a Christian or not. It dwells straight into the apologetics without too much detail. I don’t think it’s that good of a movie to own but it does deserve a recognition for being one of the better Christian movies out there.
Here’s a hilarious review from David Wood. Watch it!