I debated about doing a review of the current Christian film from Pure Flix called Do You Believe because I honestly don’t want to spoil the rawness of the experience I was able to have. I normally don’t care about spoilers but I think in this case my not knowing much about the film really helped me to respond and be inspired by it. I hadn’t even seen the trailer but I liked Pure Flix last film God’s Not Dead so I went out to see it and left very inspired.
Enjoyment of this film goes back to my post entitled Consider the Audience. Currently Do You Believe has a low Rotten Tomatoes score with most critics calling it preachy and overbearing. My response to such critics would be ‘it simply wasn’t made for you”. There are some movies made for toddlers, some for teens, others for Mormons and some for Christians. Does that give movies made for a target audience a complete pass to be horrible? No of course not but it also means if you aren’t in that audience you will probably have a hard time relating to the movie just like adults have a hard time enjoying Barney or Dora the Explorer It isn’t made for you.
Basically Do You Believe takes the Crash approach telling 12 stories of faith with a strong cast including Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Ted McGinley, Cybill Shepherd and Lee Majors.
McGinley plays a pastor who is inspired by the question ‘do you believe and if so what are you going to do about it?’ and that kind of gets the story going for his congregation.
Alexa Vega is very good as a troubled girl who bonds with a returning marine.
Brian Bosworth is a man who sacrifices his own comfort to help those around him.
Mira Sorvino is a mother to an adorable little girl who is dealing with poor health and homelessness and Shepherd and Majors are a couple whose only daughter died tragically and they are unable to move on.
I particularly liked the story of Bobby played by Liam Matthews who talks about Jesus to a dying man as an EMT and is asked to apologize or lose his job. I thought that was very true to life and very moving. It asks the question ‘if you were put on trial as a Christian is there enough evidence to convict you?’.
The only storyline which didn’t work for me involved the African American characters who were very cliched street thugs with names like Nefarious and Kriminal. The performances aren’t bad but the writing could have been better for these characters.
I don’t really want to go into any more of the plot but it does get intense and could be upsetting for small children. I would recommend adults, older children and teens see it first and then decide if it is something appropriate for your younger children.
In some ways films about faith and romance have the same challenges. The true authentic experience of falling in love or being converted when not happening to you can seem trite, silly, one-dimensional etc. That’s why movies like Do You Believe get such bad reviews. I’m not trying to say it is perfect because it isn’t but the experiences of the 12 characters for the most part felt real and authentic to what it is like to be converted and face various challenges to faith.
I don’t know if there is much these films could do in order to not come off as preachy and simplistic to those who have not undergone a conversion experience. I guess you could have movies like Noah which I liked but most Christians disliked that tries to bridge the gap between believer and nonbeliever but it services the nonbeliever audience more. As far as a movie of faith and particularly conversion that resonates with all viewers it is tough. Chariots of Fire? The Mission? Do You Believe is certainly not on that level but it tells a satisfying, inspiring story of Christian life for its intended audience.
As far as comparing it to God’s Not Dead it is tough. Its 12 characters are much better than the side characters of God’s Not Dead. Sean Astin is an especially big improvement from Dean Cain. However, the core focus of the professor and the student in God’s Not Dead drew me in more than any of the 12 stories of Do You Believe. Part of that is because I had a similar experience in college and really related to what the student was going through. Do You Believe is way more of a Christian film where God’s Not Dead had themes anyone of faith could relate too as faith shaming happens whether you are Mormon, Evangelical, Jewish or Muslim. So, the appeal is more narrow but the overall movie is probably better in Do You Believe.
So if you are Christian and want to see something inspiring that could be a part of your family scripture study go see Do You Believe. I was really moved by it and despite what the critics say found it thought provoking and inspiring. If you are not Christian it is a definite pass. But again I don’t think that is a knock against the movie. It is made for a particular audience and that audience will enjoy it.
Hope I kept that spoiler free enough. If any of you do see it let me know what you think.
Overall Grade- B Content Grade- B
35 thoughts on “Do You Believe?”
Interesting that you changed your mind about waiting to review this film. I’m hopefully going to see this film sometime next month, if not sooner. Anyway, glad you decided to post a review for this movie after all. Interestingly, when my friend Ashton and I saw this film back in January, they showed a trailer for this film. How about that? Anyway, just curious, you think you would have seen this film I hadn’t told you about it, or do think you would have anyway? I’m just curious.
So you saw it back in January? It was nice to know I have a reader who also watches Christian films so in that sense you did encourage me to go. I decided after my scripture study this morning that those who appreciate such a film need to speak out to counter all the bad reviews but I did my best to praise it without giving anything away. Wasnt the ending intense?
No, I said I saw a trailer for Do You Believe on Selma when I saw that movie back in January. Sorry, I failed to clarify that. My bad! Anyway, I’d be curious to see how intense the ending was. But the trailer made Do You Believe look great. Anyway!
Ah ok. I thought you had some early access. Please always let me know if you’d like me to review a particular film and as long as it is PG enough for me I’ll go. Let me know what you think of the ending when you see it.
Will do! Thanks again for posting this review!
Hey I just saw God’s Not Dead is available on Netflix stream
I was always curious: Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?
Yes and no. We believe in God, Christ and Holy Ghost but not in the traditional Christian view of trinity that believes they are 3 beings in one. We believe they are separate beings with their own bodies and purposes. We are in their image so they look and behave much like us but are of course omnipotent and omnipresent.
Oh ok, always wondered. Thanks!
I maybe should have mentioned for new readers that I am not a traditional Christian but a Mormon. I figure all the old time readers know
Hey, so you said for me to let you know if here was a G rated or PG rated film that I wanted you to review? Well, in addition to me requesting that you review Dreamworks films Spirit and Sinbad, may I also request that you review the Warner Bros. animated film Quest For Camelot? I’d be curious to know your thoughts in that one. Anyway, just a thought!
I actually saw Quest for Camelot. I honestly wasn’t a big fan. I actually sent you an email to ask you if you wanted me to do a review that was mostly negative. There are a few things I liked but I thought the villain was really one note and lame. The animation didn’t flow well and the story was very predictable. Also I didn’t quite understand how the magic worked. Some of the music was nice and the voice performances were ok but not a favorite of mine but I know you love it which is awesome.
I see. Did you send this email a while back, or recently? Well, I’be been able to deal with negative reviews or yours like Maleficent and Road To El Dorado and what not even though I enjoyed those as well. So yes, definitely please do a negative review for Quest For Camelot as well. Thanks!
It was while ive been sick that I watched it and messaged you. I try to keep the blog positive for the most part and I didnt know if it made sense to be tough on an old movie like that with little upside and the chance of ticking off one of my favorite subscribers. Road to El Dorado was I guess like that but didn’t know anyone who especially likes that. The rest of my bad reviews are all for Disney films and since it is a Disney blog foremost makes sense. Anyway that’s what I was debating but if you are cool with it I may just go ahead and do it. 🙂
And for the record, I wouldn’t say I loved it as much as say Prince Of Egypt, Lion King, or even Frozen or something like that, but I definitely enjoyed it nonetheless. I’m guessing you saw it fairly recently then, eh?
Awesome! And I had issues with the inappropriate parts of El Dorado myself, but I liked the rest of it. Anyway.
I’m one of your favorite subscribers? Awwwwwwwe! Thanks Rachel! That’s so sweet!
Hey, just thought you should know that I finally saw this film and I will say that I was 110% awesome. I will definitely recommend this one to others. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.
Oh good! Wasn’t the ending a shocker? Very intense!
I couldn’t agree more. I liked that the one criminal with the head band got saved at the end as well.
By the way, I saw Little Boy earlier today and one of the trailers they showed today was a new one for Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. It looks like that one comes out on September 30th of this year. Long ways away, but we’ll be waiting and ready.
What’d you think? Critics have been brutal on it
I enjoyed Little Boy. It had quite a few sad parts in it, but it was definitely great nonetheless. I’d recommend it. Feel free to let me know what you think.
Great! I will for sure
Hey, so you know that Movie Pass deal that you mentioned a while back that I decided to go ahead and accept? Well, I was just curious, is there perhaps any way tht I could send back the Movie Pass card and cancel that deal out altogether? Only reason is because, well, while it’s certainly a great deal and all, I don’t know how much longer I can deal with having to pay $45 a month, you know? Anyway, just thought I’d ask.
I think you can cancel it. Just call their number. I guess it’s more expensive in your area because I pay $30. They have great customer service in my experience so let me know
Thank you so much for telling me about this thing anyway though.
Yeah sorry you didn’t have a great experience with it. Hope it all works out.
Thanks! So is their number 877-301-7887, or a different number?
Their website says 877-646-2892