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DVD review – Courageous

September 2012 | by Gary Brady

DVD review — Courageous

Director: Alex Kendrick
Rated: Suitable for 12 years and over

If you are familiar with the work of the Kendrick brothers and Sherwood Pictures (Flywheel, Facing the giants, Fireproof), you will know what to expect from their latest DVD Courageous.
    The theme this time is fatherhood, with the focus on four different fathers, three of whom are in the local police department. Again there is the Albany, Georgia, backdrop, the focus on several different characters, the gentle and attractive humour, people praying and getting converted and the positive small town American charm.
    Perhaps the effort to be multicultural is more obvious. As ever, the acting is good, the storyline well written and production values high. The budget was up fourfold this time, to $2 million dollars (but quickly recouped many times over at the box office).
    The project was, as ever, bathed in prayer, involved many extras from the local church, relied on volunteers, and has a credit list that still includes people like babysitters and caterers, again from the local church. The film actually ends with a Father’s Day service at the Sherwood Baptist Church.
    So, it is a film made by Christians with the laudable aim of drawing attention to fatherhood and what a crucial role fathers can have on the rising generation. What is there not to like in it? Well, it was a little long, I thought.
    It is relentlessly didactic and even if you agree with the basic premise you might find that a little irritating. The fathers in the film decide to show what committed fathers they are by signing a pledge and making a public commitment.
    One father gives his teenage daughter one of those purity rings that have been so popular and controversial in the States. All very American, and fair enough for an American film, perhaps.
    My fear, however, is that with the title Courageous, the film is suggesting that all we fathers need to do is to try a little harder, spend a little more time with our kids and everything will be dandy.
    It is difficult to say whether the problem lies in the Kendrick brothers’ theology or in the medium itself.
Gary Brady
Child’s Hill, London

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CDs and DVDs