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Do You Believe? (2015)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: Jon Gunn
Starring: Ted McGinley, Brian Bosworth, Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Lee Majors, Cybil Shepherd, Delroy Lindo, Alexa PenaVega, Joseph Julian Soria.
What can I say about this really? Anybody that wants to watch it is going to watch it or has seen it already, and the only people I am going to convince are the people who didn’t need any convincing to begin with. DO YOU BELIEVE? is one of the better Religious movies I’ve seen; so if you’re a person of faith who is looking to check this out, you will probably be fine.
This movie was tough to sit through. The pacing was absolutely sluggish and the film is uneventful leading up until the last ten minutes. There’s nothing outright that bothered me, but there were some more subtle jabs (more on those in a moment). I really could have hated this movie more than I did though; its mostly mediocre, which is because its relatively well acted.
The film heavily relies on the CRASH template (and no, not the Cronenberg movie, I know, I wish it did too). One of the stories follows an older couple (Lee Majors and Cybil Shepherd) mourning the loss of their daughter and inevitably a homeless mother and her daughter (the mother portrayed by Mira Sorvino). The daughter is directed to be as manipulatively cute as humanly possible. Its no fault of the actress; that is typically the case with child actors in these Religious movies.
We see other stories featuring Joe (Brian Bosworth), a convict out on sympathy leave because he has stage 4 leukemia. We know this because he coughs into a tissue occasionally. Joe takes an interest in the daughter, and its never established why. Something like that, you should establish an actual back-story, ‘because he’s a Christian’ shouldn’t be the only reason a middle aged man is making friends with an elementary school girl. Anyway; I’m nitpicking, I digress.
We have a doctor (Sean Astin); who is an atheist. In case you can’t tell he’s an atheist the movie makes him the most obvious, stereotypical, jerk atheist that it possibly can. His lawyer girlfriend is even worse, she has a spiel about how she’s prosecuting one of the other characters just because she wants to destroy him. While we’re on this scene, said character is an EMT and his story line just flat out bugged me.
This EMT gets called out to rescue a man and it turns out this man is dying. He forcibly converts the man to Christianity. This provokes a lawsuit from the man’s widow. Thing is, I know the movie says that the EMT tried everything to save that man, but that’s not how the scene is filmed. The way the scene is filmed, it plays like a forcible conversion; followed by the “persecution” myth that American Christians are so intent that is happening.
DO YOU BELIEVE? is ridiculous; its not blatant about its jabs, but it does sneak in digs at Planned Parenthood, and the American Humanist Association. The jabs at atheists the screenplay takes aren’t going to surprise anybody, these film-makers really don’t understand how atheists and humanists actually talk, but that hasn’t made a difference. The people who went to see this flick were going to see it no matter what; its brand loyalty is what it is. Far be it from me to take that away from them.
Suggestion: Skip it