There are about five minutes during the new film Do You Believe? in which you will not be able to breathe. Literally. You will gasp, hold your breath, sit on the edge of your seat, cry–and you will be amazed at how incredibly great this film is.
It appears that writers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, creators of last year’s blockbuster God’s Not Dead, have finally found a way to make big “Hollywood” films that are faith-based without being schmaltzy and, well, not-so-good. And Do You Believe? is not only good, it’s “big Hollywood” great.
The film follows the paths of twelve people, each looking for something more out of life, who are ultimately united in unique, beautiful ways. (The intertwining stories reminded me of the 2004 Oscar winner Crash, only in a Christian way).
One of my favorite storylines involves Oscar winner Mira Sorvino as Samantha, a woman who, due to an unexpected chain of events, finds herself homeless with daughter Lily, played by (future Oscar winner) Makenzie Moss. Other notables are Brian Bosworth, excellent as Joe, a man who is desperately trying to make up for the sins of his past. Young actor/musician Schwayze plays a gang member questioning his place in the world, and Ted McGinley stars as pastor Matthew, who ties many of these people together through his own quest to live out his faith with action. And it was a sweet surprise to see Lee Majors and Cybill Shepherd together as a couple trying to survive the loss of their daughter.
But seriously–as I said in the opening sentence, there is a part near the end of the movie that will literally leave you breathless. It’s one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in any movie and you’ll absolutely know which part I’m talking about when you see it.
When we were leaving the theater, my husband told me Do You Believe? was “by far” his favorite movie of the year. (He’ll deny it, but at one point I actually heard sniffing…) This is especially stunning considering his favorite movies almost always involve bank heists, gladiators, and/or usually star Mark Wahlberg.
I mentioned my husband’s reaction to director Jonathan M. Gunn who told me, “I understand because I’ve never been a fan of faith-based films either which is why I wanted to go a completely different route.”
When I suggested to Ted McGinley that today’s Christians need to be courageous in stating their faith publicly, he said he agreed but had always been cautious with his faith. He told me he carefully guarded his Christianity, choosing to keep it private, “the way I keep my family private.” But he agreed that in light of the way Christianity is being bashed worldwide, it’s time to bring “the cross” out of the shadows.
If you’re wondering how such a great Christian movie can be made in such a traditionally non-Christian town like Hollywood, look no further than the Partners associated with the film, including the “new and improved” Salvation Army. They are officially “rocking the red bucket” and have moved into the 21st century with SAVN.TV, a media division that deals with REAL woman’s issues such as human trafficking. Other organizations are the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Journey Home Project and more.
I highly recommend Do You Believe? for (almost) the entire family; there are a few violent scenes, and that “lose your breath” section is probably too intense for younger children. But wow is it good, and you will leave with a strong reminder that “authentic belief always requires action.”
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Official movie trailer:
Find a theater near you: http://doyoubelieve.com/theaters