Sunday, October 13, 2019

MOVIE REVIEWS: COURAGEOUS

October 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The reason that Sony’s Affirm Films — the studio unit that distributes “faith based” movies — didn’t screen Courageous to critics may have had nothing to do with worries about how they might have reacted to its content. The movie, which cost just $2 million to produce and probably became profitable with a slim take of about $8.8 million on its opening weekend, was really not looking for the mainstream movie audience to come see it. A case of preaching to the choir, the movie was marketed mostly via churches and religious organizations, and those who turned out to see it were mostly over 25. Not in the audience at the theaters that showed it were most of the nation’s leading film critics. There were just two exceptions. Paul Brunick, who reviews independent films for the New York Times, wrote that it “contains enough parables, ‘are you there, God?’ monologues and tearful affirmations of faith-based fatherhood to furnish a dozen megachurch services.” All in all, he said, it’s “a slog to get through at 130 minutes.” Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel observed that Courageous is an improvement over Fireproof, the last film made by the Kendrick brothers, Stephen and Alex. “But it also has signs of that sophomore jinx that so many start-up moviemakers suffer after making a box office hit. It’s preachier,” Moore wrote. “It mimics moments and the story arc of their last hit. Like a pastor so caught up in the moment that he can’t see that the air conditioning has given out and the congregation wants to go home, the film travels far beyond its dramatic climax, aiming for an altar call finale.” UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times’s Gary Goldstein weighed in today (Monday). Goldstein called the plot “overly simplistic; black-and-white when gray is so clearly called for.” The issues raised in it “are examined with didacticism and platitudes instead of by mining their inherent complexities.” All in all, Goldstein summarized, Courageous amounts to a “clunky, tunnel-visioned vehicle whose overbearing, overlong script nearly smothers the movie’s quibble-free message: Fathers must be responsible.”