Released March 21, evangelical drama ‘God’s Not Dead’ seems to assert that Christianity is under attack in America, but some critics are not too sure about that assertion — nor about the quality of the film.
We’re not going to be the ones to touch whether or not Christianity is under attack in America, but we will say that the overall tone of God’s Not Dead is a bit heavy-handed; its message does not seem entirely effective when it only serves to preach to the choir. (So to speak.) But don’t just take our word for it — go below the cut to find out what critics have been saying about God’s Not Dead!
‘God’s Not Dead': Movie Review Round-Up
Directed by Harold Cronk (who also directed a little something called Jerusalem Countdown) and featuring an appearance from Duck Dynasty‘s Willie Robertson, God’s Not Dead follows Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), a freshman enrolled at the fictional Hadleigh University in Louisiana.
On Josh’s first day in Professor Radisson’s (Kevin Sorbo‘s) philosophy class, the prof insists that all of his students sign a document declaring “God is dead,” lest they fail the course. (Normal, everyday university stuff.) Josh refuses and is tasked by his professor to prove that God is alive.
Here’s what the critics had to say:
“Radisson is a pretty one-dimensional tyrant, though it helps that Sorbo gives such a smooth, effective performance. When a third-act revelation provides personal motivation for his fervent atheism, the plot gimmick is pretty tacky. It cheapens the issues to suggest that anyone who doubts the existence of God came to that conclusion because of a personal trauma.”
Josh begins mounting his defense of the Lord in a fashion that might be called “Christian Apologetics for Dummies,” countering the bad professor’s scientific reasoning with his own citations from theistic scholars who suggest that Scripture and science can exist harmoniously side by side. Well, sometimes those forces sync up more harmoniously (the Big Bang) than others (evolution), but never shall the twain really meet — at least not with this milquetoast Abercrombie model at the stand, making his arguments with all the passionate conviction of a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation report.
Perhaps too many subplots were introduced into this film where even more focus could have been afforded to the student’s challenges with his friends and family for his stand for God. Furthermore, more Biblical and scientific evidence substantiating Josh’s claim of God’s existence could have been introduced. Nevertheless, the final analytical theme, “God gave people freedom of choice,” is extremely prevalent up to the end. It is the choice of each individual on the existence of God and Jesus.
The story is sometimes melodramatic. And there are moments of implausibility that emerge as the list of non-Christians behaving badly lengthens. But God’s Not Dead can always be seen focusing on the simple power of testifying to the Truth, no matter the cost. Josh makes a decision to let the chips fall where they may, delivering the gospel message bravely and boldly in a hostile environment. He carefully prepares to give his answers. And he always puts God first.
So, HollywoodLifers, will you be seeing or skipping God’s Not Dead? Be sure to vote and comment below!
– Amanda Michelle Steiner