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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: September 15, 2017.

A top pick movie, Because of Gracia, came to theaters for the second week of September on the 15th of this month. This is a dramatic, romantic comedy (PG-13) that is appropriate for teens and adults. It is about newcomer Grácia Davis who arrives in a debate class and challenges quiet Christians – Chase and OB – to take a stand for their beliefs. Grácia displays warmth and confidence, but she makes both friends and enemies. Her faith outlook on the world soon turns out to be less welcome in class than the ideas of other students.

As Gracia confronts an institutional, freedom of speech, double-standard, school faculty clash over a Christian teacher who, has “mis-stepped.” Meanwhile, Grácia reaches out to a fellow student in a destructive relationship. Chase ultimately follows Gracia’s courageous example and risks to find his own voice.

Gracia, Chase, his best friend, and a pastor’s daughter learn to find their voices within their high school, while facing all the typical teenage challenges of today.

The strong storyline and Moriah Peters’ lovely performance as Gracia are assets for the movie.  The movie has many positive themes about the following: friendship, faith, good relationships, redemption, and grace. This movie provides valuable material parents and teens to discuss.

We have seen recently how, in responses to natural disasters, that compassion has united diverse people. We also continue to see how compassion unites in movies with inspiring true stories.

The compassionate efforts of people all over the country and prayers from around the world in response to the Hurricanes/Tropical Storms Harvey and Irma, have unified people across the globe.

Likewise, in the theaters for the second week of September the movie, Dunkirk, inspires a spirit of compassion and unity with its true story of sacrifice and grit, as individuals risk their own lives in water rescues manned by volunteers and professionals to save others in harm’s way. This has been a top pick movie at the box office for adults since its release the third week of July.

Dunkirk immerses audiences in the harrowing, heroic, amazing events of 1940, when Germany trapped Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.  Under skilled air and ground cover from British and French forces, British crews and boats, including civilian, courageously, carefully, and safely evacuated 330,000 French, British, Belgian, and Dutch soldiers from the beaches.

This powerful, enthralling movie (rated PG-13) is most suited for adults, due to intense war violence, although there is little that is gratuitous or inappropriate in terms of language or behavior. The courage, sacrifice, and camaraderie of soldiers and civilians is deeply inspirational.

The acting and cinematography is outstanding. Although the dialogue is often difficult to understand, the action speaks for itself.

In this movie, everyman and everywoman role models and heroes are significant in their positive potential influence on viewers. Research provides evidence that those who observe and identify with role models are significantly influenced by the role models for good. Those who role model compassion, sacrifice, and courage can inspire it in others, as we are seeing played out in real life currently in rescues in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and surrounding regions.

Although not depicted in the movie, it is also noteworthy that a National Day of Prayer that was declared on May 26 for the soldiers trapped at Dunkirk. People from all walks of life came to British churches to pray. It was this call to prayer that compelled many civilians to bring their boats to Dunkirk to help save the courageous. A unifying National Day of Prayer was also declared on Sept. 3, 2017 for the rescue and recovery work in the Houston, Texas region.

There were miraculous answers to prayer for Dunkirk.  First, Hitler stopped the advance of his armored columns at the very point when they could have proceeded to annihilate the British army. Second, a huge storm over Flanders on May 28 grounded the German Luftwaffe squadrons and enabled the British army formations eight to twelve miles from Dunkirk to move up on foot to the coast in the dark and rain of storm. Third, the English Channel was amazingly calm as the vast armada of little ships, big ships, and warships rescued the stranded soldiers.

The British were so grateful for the great deliverance at Dunkirk that June 9 was appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving. The Daily Telegraph published C. B. Mortlock’s article in which he stated, “…the prayers of the nation were answered…the God of hosts himself had supported the valiant men of the British Expeditionary Force.”

AFFIRM Films, a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company, and Provident Films continues to provide a top pick in theaters for the second week of September.  All Saints (rated PG), released in theaters August 25, stars John Corbett and Chonda Pierce. AFFIRM Films has brought to theaters some of the best in faith-based movies which inspire hope such as Risen, Miracles from Heaven, and War Room.

This movie is also based on a true story. “Michael Spurlock, the real pastor of All Saints church, and his wife Aimee were able to impact an entire city after simply saying ‘yes’ to God, and ‘hello’ to a unique group of people placed in their lives,” said Rich Peluso, Executive Vice President of AFFIRM Films. “We think audiences will connect with this story, and be inspired to meet the needs of those around them.”

Having been ordered to shut down his tiny church, Michael Spurlock (John Corbett) with a group of refugees from Southeast Asia, risk everything to literally plant seeds for a future that could save them all.

Executive Vice President of Provident Films, Ben Howard, said, “When the Karen people knocked on his door, it would have been very easy to say, ‘sorry we are too busy today, we’re closing a church and we won’t be able to help you.’ But he reached out, and he loved them, and look what it led to. It’s a powerful story of how actively loving others can change the course of people’s lives, and ultimately the world.”  See more about the All Saints movie on its website.

Personal and corporate compassionate sacrifice as people serve and save strangers and communities, revealing the best in people in the worst of times, is a recurring inspiring theme in the true stories in top pick movies, as it is today in our real lives.

Also, remaining at the top of the box office is Cars 3. Cars 3 is a rare G-rated animated comedy adventure for kids and families by Pixar. It has no foul language, but it has some light crudity. See videos, photos, and more on IMDb. In this movie, legendary Lightning McQueen is blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers. Suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves, he wants to get back into the game. He needs the help of an eager young race technician. She has her own plan to win with inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet along with a few unexpected turns. Cars 3 celebrates small-town, American values. It is appropriate for all ages.

Further remaining at the top of the box office are two more entertaining family movies: Despicable Me 3 and The Nut Job 2.  Despicable Me 3, which is PG-rated, has some light crude elements and lots of cartoon violence, but is moral and redemptive as it celebrates faith and family in the midst of action-packed adventures. It has no foul language.  Gru, wife Lucy, and their three adorable daughters (Margo, Edith, and Agnes) along with the Minions and Gru’s twin brother, Dru (both twins are skillfully voiced by Steve Carrell), are involved with fast-paced adventures filled with heart and satirical humor for all ages. Despicable Me 3 (PG-13) is suitable for older children through adults.

After the events of the first Nut Job movie, in The Nut Job 2, Surly and his friends plan to stop Oakton City’s mayor from destroying their park home to make way for an amusement park. No manmade attractions ever beat God-made nature. One way to check out this movie and others is to view their videos and trailers IMDb and You Tube, as well as to read reviews on sources you trust.

It takes effort and research to find good movies with worthwhile values through good reviews from trustworthy, wise sources (Sonoma Christian HomeMovieguideFocus on the FamilyDove and more.) Uniquely, each week Sonoma Christian Home not only provides reviews of worthwhile, family movies, but it also publishes the top picks in movies in theaters for all ages that are not only entertaining; but they are redemptive, of good quality, and inspirational.

The top pick movies for the second week of September are the following: Because of Gracia (PG-13) appropriate for teens and adults, All Saints (PG) suitable for all ages, Cars 3 (G) which is suitable for all ages, Dunkirk (PG-13) which is appropriate for older teens and adults, Despicable Me 3 (PG-13) which is suitable for older children through adults, and The Nut Job 2 (PG) which is appropriate for older children through adults.  

In weeks and months ahead for this year, there are many more promising family redemptive movies. They include the following:  Steve McQueen, 9/28; Samson, 9/29; A Question of Faith, 9/29; Mully, 10/3-5; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain, 10/13; Revive Us 2, 10/17; Same Kind of Different as Me, 10/20; The Star, 11/10; Paddington 2, 11/10; Good-bye Christopher Robin, 11/10/2017; Genesis: Paradise,11/13/2017; Ferdinand, 11/15; Wonder, 11/17; Let There Be Light, 12/24; and The Greatest Showman, 12/25.

Check out movies before you see them. Remember that all that glitters may not be gold. Hold out for the best. What we see in movies affects our personal lives, our families, and our culture for good or bad.  Support in every way you can the best of family and redemptive movies, so that more like them will be made. Let’s choose and support the best that will affect us all positively for eternal good.




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

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