Title: Courageous (2011; PG-13)
Director: Alex Kendrick
Major Themes: Fatherhood, Legacy, Police Officers, Family Life
Synopsis: Four men must fight for the right at work . . . but will the right win out in their own hearts and homes?
I don’t watch very many movies, but after hearing about how good Courageous was, when I got a chance to borrow a copy I took it. Everyone else was right: This is a great movie. There were a few things in it I wouldn’t be comfortable showing to my younger brothers just yet, but once they get a bit older and are mature enough to handle it I’ll enjoy watching it with them.
Courageous is all about Dads. Even though I don’t know what it’s like to be a dad, I believe its message is desperately needed in the world we live in today. And it’s not only dads that need to hear this message—I, as a big sister, needed to hear (well, see) it as well. Boiled down, the message simply is:
“We need to purposefully invest in the lives of the children around us, and raise up a godly standard for them to follow.”
Perhaps that wasn’t what the whole theme of the movie was about, but that’s what I got out of it. And the way that message was presented gave me a sobering reality check.
In Courageous, we meet four different men—all with different backgrounds, different family dimensions, and different values. As police officers, these men are called to protect the innocent and deliver justice.
Meanwhile, their children try to forge their own way in life. Then frightening statistics come to the men’s attention on how the lack of a father in the home directly affects how the children will turn out. On average, the amount of young people involved in drugs, gangs, and other things these men are fighting against is increased dramatically when there isn’t a father in the home to lead, guide, and support his children.
Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and the other men in their group suddenly realize the stunning effect of how their actions are influencing their children’s lives, and they long for a change. But when tragedy strikes, and betrayal comes from the most unexpected source, will their faith in God and commitment to each other pull them through? Will they be able to lead and be an example to their family—before unrepairable damage is done?
Courageous covers many different subjects—from dealing with the pain of the death of a loved one, to the beauty of trust restored, to godly relationships, to moral issues—this movie has it all. The stories of these men are powerful—both showing that God-honoring families will be blessed, and also seeing the consequences of hypocrisy and sin. Courageous is very sad through many parts of the movie, often making me want to cry, which isn’t common for me. Yet through the sadness, there was also hope—and at times, a good dose of humor that had me almost splitting my sides!
The main takeaway Alex and Stephen Kendrick wanted to give was that Godly men—men who will take responsibility and fulfill the role God has given them—are needed. Men who will fearlessly stand for the right, and guide their families “[into] the paths of the righteous.” (Proverbs 2:20)
Through these men’s stories, I saw myself—and I saw what I lacked. I saw, probably strongest of all, the reality that the decisions I make today could heavily impact my children tomorrow. I’m a single woman, yes, but through Courageous I’ve been given a clearer outlook on my future and my decisions regarding my future. It doesn’t just involve me—it involves my friends, my family, and all the people I know and don’t know yet. I have an awesome responsibility and trust to keep with them, too. Am I courageous enough to take up the banner and fight for the right? Are you?
WARNING: This movie is not for children. While most parts are okay, there are frequent talks about gangs throughout the story. Close to the beginning and also close to the end there are gang-related chases and at one stage a shoot-out. Also, there is a scene close to a quarter way involving a gang “beating in” a new member.
Ages 15 and Above, Adults