Graphic Language: None
Strong Sexual Content: None
Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) has just filled his truck up at a gas station and turns his back for a brief second to grab the window washer when a gang banger jumps in the truck and peels away. Nathan runs after the truck and hangs on for dear life, fighting with the thief and trying to regain control of the wheel. The truck loses control and hits a tree—and the crook gets away.
Onlookers can’t figure out why he cared so much about the truck, until Nathan opens the back door to reveal his baby strapped in a car seat.
The opening scene serves as a metaphor for the movie’s subject—fatherhood. The audience gets shown varying degrees of what it means to be a father through Courageous’ characters. Officer Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) has two kids, but connects and subconsciously favors his 9 year old daughter over his teenage son, Dylan. Nathan Hayes (Bevel) has moved back to Albany, where the movie is set, to raise his kids better than his dad raised him. Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) is trying to make ends meet with his family, while Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya) is trying to find work to support his wife and two children.
Courageous starts to move when Adam’s daughter is tragically killed by a drunk driver, forcing him to do what no father should do—outlive his kids. Through counsel with his pastor, Adam comes to a crossroads and makes a decision. “I want to know what God expects of me as a father. And I want to know how to help my wife and son.” He constructs a “pact” of sorts, a new commitment that he pitches to his friends in his backyard—that they’ll take responsibility before God for themselves, their wives, and their kids. They’ll step into a godly role and take control as the spiritual leader of their homes.
Each father in Courageous has his own issue and resolution, and with so many fathers and so many storylines, it’s difficult to fully develop all of them—and ends up pushing the movie a tick over 2 hours. There are light moments as well, especially in scenes with Javier, Adam, and miscommunication about remodeling. There are also many moments that challenged me as a father, with a few scenes that made me want to run out of the theater, hug my kids and tell them I love them more than anything. Courageous definitely hits some high notes, and taps into a universal subject that bridges a lot of gaps.
While this is the best offering so far from Sherwood Pictures (Facing the Giants, Fireproof), it still falls short of Hollywood quality, which is unfortunately what most of the entertainment industry will be comparing Courageous to. That said, Courageous is yet another step in the right direction. It’s not ashamed of the Gospel, and with every movie from this production company, they’re inching closer and closer to a movie that will not only attract the Christian crowd, but the non-Christian as well.
While not exactly a family movie, this is a great one to challenge fathers to reevaluate their role, and to recommit their lives to honoring, protecting, and raising their kids.
For more details on Courageous, check out the Christian Film Database.
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 This movie will definitely challenge fathers. Especially how fathers parent their kids and act as a husband to their wives. To what or whom are you looking to as a father figure, to emulate? Fathers have a uniquely large burden when it comes to family, and some, if not most, may feel inadequate—or maybe just that they’re playacting a role instead of living a reality. Too often, fathers are the result of their fathers. I want to be just like him, or I’ll never raise my kids like dad raised me. Swinging from one extreme to another, fathers who look to earthly role models may possibly never fulfill their role as God intended. Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father—and his Word—to give us the ultimate example. To quote another movie on parenthood, “You need a license to drive a car, heck you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let anybody be a father.” Biologically becoming a father isn’t where the commitment ends, but rather, where it begins. Courageous shows almost every aspect of fatherhood, from young to old, from unmarried to unemployed. Where you are now is not where you have to remain. Questions: Talk about your father: In what ways has he influenced your parenting? Who do you look to as a role model for being a Godly father? What kind of parent do you want to be to your children?