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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: October 27, 2015.

The movie Woodlawn is a game-changer. On October 26, Christian Headlines.com reports that critics are praising the movie Woodlawn. They write, “Inspirational Christian film Woodlawn is scoring big with both critics and audiences.” The film has received an A plus rating from Cinemascore, which has been a leading source for audience opinion in the film industry for over 35 years. Executive producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, state, “Clearly Woodlawn got this extraordinary rating because it’s an A+ film. Woodlawn takes the audience on a sweeping journey, which is both exciting and emotional. The Erwin Brothers made an incredible film, and people are loving it. We are very encouraged.”

Film reviewers, Rotten Tomatoes (that is especially hard on faith-based films) shows that 91 percent of critics and 92 percent of moviegoers gave Woodlawn a thumbs up.  The Huffington Post states, “Woodlawn scores big…revs up the chill factor, and sends you out of the theater resolved to be a better person.” USA Today states, “With Woodlawn Christian Films enter new playing field.” The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie has “Solid ensemble performances.” The LA Times says, “Woodlawn gets high marks.” Chicago Sun Times states that story of the movie is told with “strength and skill.” Gannett News Service reports, “[I]t’s impossible not to recognize the skill and power of the way the filmmakers tell their story.”

Directors Jon (left) and Andy Erwin confer on set during filming; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Directors Jon (left) and Andy Erwin confer on the ‘Woodlawn’ set during filming; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

GC Times says, “Woodlawn is like an answer to a prayer. First the faith-based movie Captive came along with top-notch direction, a terrific script and performances. Now here’s another high-quality Christian film with solid production values, an engaging true story and good performances…from thoughtful, hard-working filmmakers.”

BP News quotes Woodlawn producer Kevin Downes, “It’s a special film that’s really going to touch the lives of many people across the country and around the world,…I think it transcends different backgrounds in such a way that it can bring healing. People have separation and brokenness in their lives — and this film can really help people in ways that are unexpected.”

Woodlawn is based on actual events that began with rivaling football teams during racial turmoil with desegregation in Birmingham and ended with reconciliation within and between rivaling teams. Birmingham has had a long history of racial violence that included the bombing of the Birmingham church in which four, little, African American girls were tragically killed, while in Sunday School, a decade before the healing events in the movie. Woodlawn is a must-see movie for older children through adults. All should see this movie, especially every American.

Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) visits the church attended by several of his African American players in an emotional scene; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) visits the church attended by several of his African American players in an emotional scene; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Woodlawn provides a universal, hopeful, and eternal story, as well as a solution, to racial violence, rivalries, and tragedy. The Erwin Brothers have directed this movie with captivating cinematography. Jon Voight as Coach Bear Bryant, Sherri Sheperd as Momma Nathan, Sean Astin as Hank Erwin, and Caleb Castille as Tony Nathan all are delightful in their performances.

Hundreds of young people after screenings have been reported as coming to the front of auditoriums to commit their lives to faith and the message of the movie. In cinemas the movie has been followed by applause. This film is a timely and significant gift to all from its producers, who include Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

Mojo Box Office on October 26 indicates that Woodlawn has brought in $7,924,648 in gross box office receipts to date. It is a movie that will stand the test of time, especially with a long run in the hearts and minds of viewers.

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

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