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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: September 17, 2015.

During the third week of September, some of the best redemptive movies to date are in theaters. Mojo Box Office reports that the top box office movies still in theaters include redemptive family movies War Room, Ant-Man, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Inside Out, and Shaun the Sheep. However, the top pick for this week is Captive.

On September 17, the day before the theatrical release of the riveting movie Captive, special kick-off screening is available to the public. In this preliminary event, Captive: Night of Purpose, moviegoers will see the powerful story of Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols. Attendees will see the movie and an exclusive panel discussion with cast members David Oyelowo (Selma) and Kate Mara (Fantastic Four), along with Smith herself and Nichols’ mother. Moviegoers interested in this special event can find theaters where it is available online.

'Captive' tells how Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) & Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) went from hostage situation to redemption; Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

‘Captive’ tells how Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) & Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) went from hostage situation to redemption; Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Captive is based on the true story of Smith’s intense ordeal when Nichols took her captive in in her apartment after killing four people in a courtroom. During the traumatic seven hours of being held hostage, Smith turned to Rick Warren’s inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life, a friend’s gift that she had initially thrown away. Nichols asked her to read it to him, and they both were profoundly and eternally changed. Captive is also based on Smith’s book An Unlikely Angel, in which she not only shares her traumatic ordeal but also addresses addiction and faith.

In an exclusive interview with Austin Movie Examiner, Brian Bird, screenwriter for Captive, shared profound insights on how redemptive media can bring light to our present darkness. Bird is a veteran producer and screenwriter for the best in redemptive television and movies.

Brian Bird

Brian Bird has had a hand in some of the best in redemptive media, including ‘Captive’ and ‘Touched by an Angel.’

Bird reflected that all great stories and beloved movies are redemption stories. This is because humans are wired for resurrection stories. After all, redemptive stories point the way to the original and ultimate redemption story. Captive displays the current darkness of our world and how we can find our way into the Light.  We are in a great tidal wave of change, and depression and hopelessness are on the rise. We all crave forgiveness and a second chance. Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols were in deep despair when they encountered each other, but God showed up and brought redemption into their lives.

In Bird’s story, we see how God’s Light shines brightest in the darkest corners. God used a killer to save Smith’s life and a drug addict with no more chances to save Nichols’ life. The movie is honest, real, and raw, and it pushes those who see it to talk with friends and family about the film’s questions. Bird has seen how redemptive television and movies can create a hunger in audiences and lead them to take further steps to find ultimate redemptive Truth. When he worked on Touched by Angel, he saw the power of life- and faith-affirming stories. After some episodes aired, desperate viewers would call suicide hotlines, and their lives were saved.

Captive Movie

Nichols (David Oyelowo) gets an unexpected second chance, and his story may do the same for others; Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Bird hopes millions will see Captive and experience the kind of second chance we all need. He also hopes that the themes of courage, sacrifice, forgiveness, and the significance of helping others will play on the strings of viewers’ hearts.

Three of the most remarkable redemptive movies to date are now available in cinemas: War Room, 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Captive. All three are based on best-selling books. All three have good performances. All three appeal to broad audiences. All three are honest. War Room and Captive have notable African-American and white casts that appeal to multi-racial audiences. And moviegoers have been giving War Room standing ovations! All three are treasures for such a time as this.


Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies),

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