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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: January 18, 2017.

In 2016, Sonoma Christian Home brought you reviews of several movies that carried a redemptive theme. We were blessed with many exclusive interviews to accompany these quality films. Now, we share our top redemptive movie picks for 2016.

The top pick redemptive movie for 2016 is Ben-Hur. This powerful and engaging movie is based on the timely novel, Ben-Hur: The Tale of the Christ. The movie has been coupled with the updated Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ novel by Dr. Carol Wallace, who is the great-great-granddaughter of General Lew Wallace, who wrote the original Ben-Hur novel. The movie and book are timely with their eternal themes of reconciliation, restoration, and redemption. It is a movie about the value of family love and most importantly the greatest love of our Lord.

Both this updated movie of Ben-Hur and the 1959 film version with Charlton Heston, used the same Roman studio and location. However, the 2016 movie is updated. Director, Timur Bekmambetov, used 800 small cameras that were placed on the horses and chariots in the chariot race to enable the audience to feel as if they are part of the action.

Christ, and especially his actions, are also more highlighted in this movie than in earlier versions as Christ enables Ben-Hur, in pivotal encounters, to release his hateful vengeance to experience reconciliation, restoration and redemption. In the earlier versions, audiences never saw Jesus’ face but in this movie, the audience sees Jesus and experiences His love.

'Ben-Hur' Movie Messala and his adopted brother Judah Ben-Hur in the climatic chariot race to the death

‘Ben-Hur’ Movie Messala and his adopted brother Judah Ben-Hur in the climatic chariot race to the death

This classic story with its universal themes of reconciliation, restoration, and redemption is especially relevant for such a time as this. Sonoma Christian Home editors were invited to see one of the first screenings at the Ben-Hur Faith Summit in Hollywood at Paramount Studios. There they interviewed principal actors, producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and principal directors and crew.  See Sonoma Christian Home for exclusive interviews with Ben-Hur principals with Sonoma Christian Home. Ben-Hur is now available for digital download and on BluRay and DVD.

The second top pick redemptive movie for 2016 is Risen. Sonoma Christian Home provides an exclusive interview for this fine movie.  Risen begins where the blockbuster movie The Passion of the Christ ends. It is the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion as well as the 40 days following through the eyes of an unbelieving Roman soldier who helped put Jesus to death.

Award winning actor, Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in LoveLuther) plays Clavius, the high-ranking and ambitious military officer who is charged with finding the body of Jesus after his death and resurrection. Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton of Harry Potter) set out on the greatest investigative manhunt of all time. They are on a mission to disprove the news of Jesus’ Resurrection and prevent an uprising among the Jews. Fiennes progresses from a heartless and brutal soldier with blood on his hands to a man who encounters Jesus face-to-face in a life-changing experience.

Risen Movie - Steven Hagan and Joseph Fiennes

Cleopas (Stephen Hagan) with Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) who looks on from the outside as Jesus and his apostles gather and talk in the fishing village in Columbia Pictures’ RISEN.

The third top pick redemptive movie for 2016 is The Young Messiah. In this movie, Jesus of Nazareth is a boy of seven, who with his family is leaving Egypt to return to their home. This captivating movie is inspired by Scripture and rooted in history, as it imagines a year in the boyhood of Jesus.

Remaining true to the character of Jesus revealed in the Bible, this film is an inspirational story about the childhood of the Savior for the whole family. When the mystery of Jesus’ divinity begins to unfold in His early years, He turns to His parents for answers. But Mary and Joseph, to protect their child are reluctant to reveal all they know.

Photo Courtesy of 1492 Pictures.

The fourth top pick redemptive movie for 2016 is Miracles From Heaven, which features Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah. and other remarkable actors.  This film has been based on Christy Beam’s bestselling book about the amazing true story of her daughter who experienced a debilitating disorder for four years but was restored in a freak accident.

Golden Globe® winner Jennifer Garner stars as Christy Beam, a determined, devoted mother whose world is turned upside down when her daughter Anna (beautifully performed by newcomer Kylie Rogers) is struck with a rare, incurable, painful digestive disorder. With a mother’s tenacious determination, Christy does everything she can and beyond for her child through a medical maze. When she struggles in her faith and when all truly seems lost, a series of amazing, documented events unfold that leave not only Christy but doctors, family and community at once baffled and profoundly inspired by the astonishing events.

In exclusive Red Carpet interviews with Sonoma Christian Home, actress Jennifer Garner (JG), Producers DeVon Franklin (DF) and Bishop T.D. Jakes (TDJ), and the Beam Family (BF) share wonderful insights about their experiences making the movie. Sonoma Christian Home also presents an insightful and enlightening personal video interview with Jennifer Garner for this inspirational movie.

The fifth top pick redemptive movie for 2016 is Hacksaw Ridge. This is a comeback Christian movie for director Mel Gibson. It is about sacrificial love and service in the most difficult of circumstances. It is rated R due to brutal military violence. It is appropriate for older teens through adults. It is about Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who is an heroic conscientious objector serving as an unarmed medic during the intense battle of Okinawa in World War II. This movie has received many good reviews.

The sixth top redemptive movie for 2016 is God’s Not Dead 2. Sonoma Christian Home presents an exclusive video interview with the leads. Jesse Metcalfe co-stars alongside Melissa Joan Hart, as the charming and sympathetic defense attorney, Tom Engler who fights for Grace’s religious freedoms in a fierce court room battle against those who seek to remove every and any form of Christianity from the public school system.

When Brooke, a hurting student grieving the loss of her brother, reaches out to Grace (Hart), their coffee-shop conversation leads Grace to share the hope she finds in Christ. However, when Brooke asks an honest question about Jesus in the classroom, Grace’s reasoned response lands her in big trouble, almost before she finishes giving her answer.


Jesse Metcalfe and Melissa Joan Hart in ‘God’s Not Dead 2’

With the principal and superintendent joining forces with a zealous civil liberties group, Grace faces an epic court case that could cost her the career she loves and expel God from the classroom—and the public square—once and for all!

The seventh top pick redemptive movie from 2016 is I’m Not Ashamed. Sonoma Christian Home provides stories and interviews for I’m Not Ashamed. It is another powerful movie about real-life heroines and heroes from the true story of Rachel Joy Scott and the Columbine High School shooting. It is tragic but also inspirational. The ensemble acting in this movie is believable and captivating. When Rachel Joy Scott refused to deny her Lord and Savior in her final moments at Columbine High School, her life was taken.

She recorded her prayers and faith journey in her journal that became the basis for her parents’ books about her life and for the movie I’m Not Ashamed (PG-13). See the Sonoma Christian Home interview with Rachel Scott’s mother, Beth Nimmo, who tells how our Lord prepared not only her daughter but herself and has enabled her to work with high school students to avoid tragedies in their lives. This movie is about sacrificial love.

inspiring true story 'I'm Not Ashamed'

Masey McLain portrays Rachel Joy Scott, the inspiring teenager who lost her life in Columbine. Photo Courtesy of PureFlix

The eighth top pick redemptive movie from 2016 is Disney’s Queen of Katwe.  It has received many good reviews. It follows a Ugandan slum girl’s rise from a hopeless future to that of an international chess player. David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Robert Katende, a missionary and refugee of Uganda’s civil war who as a chess teacher sees potential in 9-year-old Phiona Mutesi. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) plays her mother. It is about love for family and young people.

paying chess in queen of katwe - the story behind queen of katwe

The actors portraying Phiona and Robert play a game of chess in this still from Disney’s upcoming film ‘Queen of Katwe’.

The ninth top pick redemptive movie from 2016 is Deepwater Horizon. Sonoma Christian Home provides an interview with a real Christian survivor of Deepwater Horizon who is depicted as a key character in the movie. This gripping film is about the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. This redemptive movie focuses on the real-life heroes and heroines in this disaster and includes prayer and divine provisions in the midst of danger. It is about sacrificial love and service for colleagues.

redemptive family movies ring in Christmas Mark Wahlberg and Kate Hudsgon in 'Deepwater Horizon'

Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and Felicia Williams (Kate Hudson) in ‘Deepwater Horizon.’ Photo Credit: David Lee

The tenth top pick redemptive movie from 2016 is Sully. Sonoma Christian Home presents another exclusive interview with the screenwriter for Sully in which he tells about relying on prayer to write the winning screenplay. This is another movie about sacrificial love and service for others.

Sully is about the “Miracle on the Hudson” in which Captain Sullenberger saved the lives of all on his flight by landing in the Hudson River. Tom Hanks performs skillfully the everyman heroic captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Sonoma Christian Home presents another exclusive interview with the screenwriter for Sully in which he tells about relying on prayer to write the winning screenplay. This is another movie about sacrificial love and service for others.

Heroic plane landing on Hudson river. 'Sully' the rest of the story

Heroic plane landing on Hudson river in the film ‘Sully’

2016 was a wonderful year for outstanding redemptive movies in theaters that are now becoming available in 2017 in digital formats for homes and gatherings. Sonoma Christian Home editors have had the privilege of meeting, interviewing actors, writers, crew and more for these fine movies and has followed them behind-the-scenes and on the screens. Therefore, from first-hand experiences with these fine movies, they come from Sonoma Christian Home with the highest of recommendations.  Happy New Year!




To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard

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