Friday, November 16 , 2018, 2:56 pm | Fair 69º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Courageous’ a Genuine Tale of Men Doing the Right Thing

You don't have to be a father to be inspired by this exploration of becoming a good male role model

4 Stars — Inspiring

Men, go see Courageous. Fathers, be prepared to be convicted. Another in the series of Christian dramas, Courageous is written and produced by brothers Stephen and Alex Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Fireproof). Every man who sees this film will be challenged to consider what kind of role model his life has become.

Courageous is about four peace officers and one friend who learn through the tests in their lives what it means to be a man and how to hold each other accountable for setting a good example.

While their jobs might be “to protect and to serve,” their true calling is to protect and to serve their families. This challenge comes from the lieutenant of their police force, who reads an article to his officers explaining how 80 percent of the men who end up in prison grew up without a father in the household. He laments the fact that fathers have given up on their responsibility to be leaders and role models in the lives of their families.

Officer Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) has two children and is a good family man and a good police officer. When tragedy strikes his family, he has to question how “good” he really is. He and his wife also face the inevitable questions about why God allows evil things to happen to them. It is in his search for answers that he makes a pledge to himself, his family and his co-workers to change his priorities in life and to ask them to hold him accountable to live up to what he knows he has been called to do.

While each person in the story has been called to live a more perfect life, it is clear that each harbors layers of imperfection in their background and relationships.

What do real friends do to hold each other accountable for their actions? How do you “love” people through the hard realities of life? What happens when you have to call your friends to account for actions that others would likely overlook?

Officer Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) is challenged in his relationship with his daughter and her choice in boyfriends. How do you protect your teenage daughter from the dangers of the world while at the same time give her the encouragement she needs to be discerning in her choices? Nathan’s modeling of behavior not only sets the standard for his peers on the force, but also earns him the respect of his wife, who challenges him and his friends to make a public commitment to the kind of fathers they want to be.

Courageous is a well-told story, sometimes preachy, filled with funny moments, and convicting. It shows the kinds of questions and tests we all face in our life and some that most people would hope would never happen to them. It isn’t just a film for married men with families, but it is a film that every man needs to see.

Set in the small town of Albany, Ga., this small-budget film has already proven that good movies do not have to originate from Hollywood. Sherwood Pictures is a ministry of the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, and Stephen Kendrick is an associate pastor.

Courageous was made with a budget of $2 million and recouped its investment in its first weekend showing, and grossed more than $9 million in the first three weeks.


» Do you have a good relationship with your father? How has that relationship affected your life?

» There are many things that pull us away from being a good father or friend. How do you keep from being pulled away from your family?

» How honest and accountable are you to your close friends?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit

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