The producers from Sherwood Films that gave us a couple of years ago have now created Courageous, a masterful film about the importance of fatherhood, how religion and spirituality can help fathers take responsibility for their important roles and about the critical nature of committed fatherhood in the lives of fathers, mothers, children, and society. This is a must-see film that will validate fathers who are committed to God and their families, and that will call the rest of us to be better, more dedicated and more compassionate fathers.
The plot of Courageous centers around four deputy sheriffs in Albany, Georgia who find themselves at different levels in their fathering. The main protagonist is Adam, played by Alex Kendrick (who directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Stephen), whose children find themselves at some distance from dad because of his focus on work, his lethargic attitude and his not knowing quite how to relate. A tragedy in his life causes him to reevaluate what he is doing and how he is living. Adam's introspection and spiritual reflection cause him to challenge himself and others to walk a higher walk as a man and a father.
The other officers include a committed Christian father who comes to the force from a big city, a young single rookie and another officer with a small family. Together they hang out, barbecue and enjoy one another's company on and off the job. Each of them responds differently to Adam's unexpected and tragic circumstances and have to come to terms with the resultant call to be a courageous, godly and determined father.
Quite by happenstance, an additional man comes into the circle who is hired by Adam to help him build a shed in the backyard. This man ends up in some ways being the conscience for the others as he lives a quiet but deeply spiritual life through a series of employment trials for himself and his family.
The Kendrick brothers have written and produced a film that is at once emotionally focusing and thought -provoking. It will cause any man watching, father or not, to see the value in committed fatherhood and to feel a desire to be a better man and father. There are a number of twists, turns, and surprises that lead the viewer through a carefully orchestrated process leading to the final scene in the film in which Adam encourages all men to rise up to their potential as fathers.
As Adam delves deeper into his own reflections, reads and ponders the Bible and seeks to become a courageous father in his own right, he and his friends develop a "resolution" to which each of them affixes their name, committed to a more godly walk and a more dedicated life as a man and a father. The terms of this resolution give you a real flavor of what you will experience as you watch .
- I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
- I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
- I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
- I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
- I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
- I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
- I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
- I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
- I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
- I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
- I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
- I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
- As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. - Joshua 24:15
Should you watch this movie?
It was an intensely moving experience for me to watch this movie with my wife. I tend to be a dad who loves the role of father, and I think I have worked hard to teach my children values such as those espoused in Courageous, but I did find myself remembering the times I did not "walk the talk" in my own fathering. So it was a bit of a call to repentance more than an affirmation to me of the good job I did as a father. But I suspect that was intended.
I came away from feeling personal resolve to not just to do better but to be better as a man and as a father. I also decided that when the film comes out on DVD, I will purchase a copy for each of my sons and sons-in-law (as I did with Fireproof) and encourage them to watch it and commit to their own "resolution" to be a better father.
The film is unabashedly Christian in nature and makes frequent references to Christianity and spirituality. I suspect that this might be off-putting for some men. But even the less religious among us can find inspiration and direction to help us become better. And for men who have embraced Christianity, the messages will resonate even more directly and personally. Courageous will help any man who wants to be a better father or who needs some motivation to look a little deeper and commit a little more fully to his important role as a father in every sense of the word.