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Director: Alex Kendrick
Writers: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Cast: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Beth Moore, Michael Jr., Jadin Harris, Tenae Downing, Alena Pitts, Kathleen Dellinger, Toochukwu T.C. Anyachonkeya, Noël Baker, Perry Ball, J.D. Banks, Elizabeth Becka, Audrey Blackwelder
Synopsis: A seemingly perfect family looks to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements throughout
3 / 10
- Acting was good
- Nicely paced
- Direction wasn't too bad.
- Features arguably the most contrived story for a religious film that I've ever seen. The plot is not only predictable, but it sends a bad message about how prayer can solve all your problems in life.
- The scene involving the preacher magically being able to tell where the old lady did all her praying was bulls***, as I doubt even the Pope could do that. Let alone a preacher. No offense.
- Story was too cheesy to buy into.
- Weak script, with a lot of forgettable characters.
PUT THAT KNIFE DOWN IN THE NAME OF JESUS!
As I read through some of my past reviews of pro religious movies, I've come to the realization that maybe I've been too hard on some of them for being overly preachy, which isn't a good reason to pick on a pro religious film because that's part of their identity. It would be like getting mad at a horror film for being too disturbing and/or creepy, which is kind of the point it's genre.
Therefore, I decided to not criticize anymore pro religious films for being "preachy", but rather on it's overall content and message. Unfortunately even if you can look past the overly preachy aspects of "War Room", the reality is you still end up with a bad movie.
"War Room" is essentially a pro Christianity drama about about a black couple living in the upper class suburbs of America. For a while, they've been having marriage troubles, as the husband is always away on business, and he seems to be losing interest in his wife to the point that he starts to contemplate cheating on her. They also have a nine year old girl, who feels neglected by her parents, as they both work full time to support her.
The husband sells medical supplies for some pharmaceutical company, while his wife works in real estate. One day, the wife meets an elderly woman, who's deeply religious to the point that she even has a closet dedicated to doing nothing but praying to god everyday. And when she meets our young protagonist, she asks her to give her a moment of her time, so she might teach her the right way to fight by surrendering herself to Jesus Christ, and allowing god to fight for her on her behalf.
From here, you see the woman transition from a partial believer that attends church as more of a customary thing to becoming more active in the power of prayer. She too cleans out her closet to turn it into what she calls a "War Room" to do all her prayers. She starts to pray to god everyday to teach her to love her husband again, while praying that he'll inevitably learn to love her again too. The husband finds out about it eventually after he almost cheats on her.
He starts to feel guilty. Cue in the Hallmark channel music, and you pretty much have a general idea where this is going to go. As I said before, I'm not going to condemn "War Room" for being overly preachy because that would be like getting mad at a blind kid for being blind, as you have be willing to let a few things slide because of the nature of the genre it represents. However, I am going to say this much.
While the power of prayer is good for some people, and it can provide us warmth and comfort in times of weakness, but we need to be honest for a minute. Just because you pray to god to do something for you that it doesn't always mean he's going answer your prayers. It doesn't work that way. Even the most devout Christian in the world would have to agree with me that God can't answer every prayer, nor should he.
The problem with this movie is that it tries to paint a picture that, by surrendering yourself to Jesus, god will always take care of you and make things right, but that's not realistic. If anything, it gives the viewer a false sense of affirmation, which is really the only reason why I can see people loving this film. It offers affirmation in their religious beliefs that prayers will always be answered if they believe in something hard enough, when that isn't the case.
Granted, this might not be tolerable on it's own, but the film doesn't stop there. After the old lady clears out her house, and all her prayer notes inside her "War Room", a preacher and his wife look into buying it. Take in mind, the house is completely empty, so there's no physical evidence she even had a "War Room" to begin with. However, the preacher immediately walks into the closet where the old lady had her "War Room" set up, and he smiles telling his wife, "Somebody been praying in here."
Far be it from me to question ANYBODY'S faith in god, but I'm pretty sure that even the most devout Christian would find a hard time believing in that contrived horse s***. First of all, I don't give a rat's a** if your a preacher, priest or even the freaking pope. How the f*** can you tell that someone prayed in an empty house when there's literally no freaking physical evidence to suggest that? I doubt seriously even the damn Pope would be able to have that ability, yet this film expects us to believe that any man of the cloth can do this? Give me a break. Honestly, did god tell this preacher that this old lady used that closet as her praying closet while aptly calling it her "War Room?" Or let me guess, this was the writers cheap way to hammer into people that Jesus is good. We get it. We're not stupid. Enough.
Sadly, it's because of scenes like this, along with the contrived message about prayer being the answer to all your problems in life, only goes to prove how much this movie is nothing more than pro religious propaganda movie that's designed to affirm one's beliefs in god.
Look, I'm not going to question anyone's faith here, and I do apologize to any of my readers if they feel offended by this review, as I can assure you this review is NOT a reflection of how I think of the concept of god, religion and etc. However, I can't pretend this is a great movie because it's not. If anything it's not only a bad film, but it's a dangerous one that sends the wrong message about life.
Yes, the power of prayer can be strong, and it give you comfort during difficult times. However, god doesn't answer everyone's prayers, as I'm sure even the Pope himself would agree with me on this issue. Yeah, prayer might be good to help you with some issues in life, but you shouldn't rely on it to fix all your problems. This film sells you on the concept that prayer alone solves everything, which is a dangerous belief to have.
For that reason alone, i cannot endorse this movie. Not only is the story reeked in cliches and a contrived story arc about redemption, but the message it tries to convey is dangerous to buy into.
Again, I'm not here to criticize anyone's beliefs, but "War Room" is simply a bad movie. Unless your just looking for a pro Christian film that offers nothing in terms of substance, but tons of affirmation in your beliefs in Jesus, then knock yourself out with "War Room." But for everyone else, I'd say stay way because this isn't worth seeing.