Movie Review: Courageous


My wife and I have missed our share of movies as they hit the big screen and then seemed to disappear just weeks later. “Courageous” happened to be one such movie that escaped us, the latest production from Sherwood Pictures that also brought us “Fireproof,” “Flywheel,” and “Facing the Giants.” Released in September 2011, the film is now available on DVD and Blue Ray, a copy of the latter we rented this past weekend. Oh, and unlike some hit and run movies, Courageous is still being shown in select theaters around the country.

Biblical Fatherhood

The theme of “Courageous” is biblical fatherhood, specifically the mandate God has given to Christian men as the spiritual leaders of their households (Ephesians 6;4). That leadership is often lacking today with many homes run by single mothers who gallantly try to keep the family together without the presence of a father. The consequences of absentee fathers is profound, however, as the National Center for Fathering has noted that children in homes without fathers are more likely to have lower grade point averages, hold reduced aspirations for college, get into legal trouble more often, bear an increased risk of having emotional problems and are much more likely to be sexually active and have a child out of wedlock.

Although the movie touches on these points, the emphasis of the film written by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick is on Christian fathers and how they impact their families, especially their offspring.

Five Fathers

The Kendricks, with Stephen playing a lead road as Albany, Georgia, police office Adam Mitchell, featured five fathers and the rearing of their children. Mitchell is a busy and distant father of two children — 15-year-old Dylan and 9-year-old Emily. The other fathers include Nathan Hayes, an African-American husband and father of three whose heroics open the film; Javier Martinez, a Latino father of two struggling to keep a roof over his family; Shane Fuller, a divorced father of one whose compromises end up landing him in jail; and young David Thomson who fathered a child out of wedlock and eventually takes responsiblility for parenting. Everyone except for Martinez is on the Albany police force.

It took the tragic loss of Mitchell’s daughter to waken him to what he had been missing all along — a strong relationship with his children. In a counseling session following his daughter’s funeral, he is urged by his pastor to dwell not so much on his loss and the mistakes he made, but to be open to receiving God’s healing and direction for his life.

At this point the movie shifts to biblical fatherhood, with the characters going beyond being mere dads to becoming men who guide and raise their families, who also bless their children as they grow up and strive to seek God’s will for their lives. The underlying theme here is that honor begins at home and by submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ, families can enjoy the full blessings of God.

Sherwood Pictures

As with the other movies from Sherwood Pictures, the producers have used Courageous as a platform for advancing resources that are related to the film. These resources include helping churches reach men through events and ministry opportunities as well as reaching out to struggling families. For example, an “InsideOUt Dad Christian” program developed in cooperation with Prison Fellowship seeks to assist incarcerated fathers as they prepare for release and rentry into society.

Courageous is rated PG-13 and contains gang violence including a dramatic shoot out with police toward the end of the film. This movie does not contain foul language, but it covers subject matter commonly portrayed on TV and on the big screen. Still, it does a good job portraying the real life struggles people face today and offers a clear avenue to salvation in Jesus Christ, and hope for a more abundant life for those who put their trust in Him.


Sherwood Pictures: Courageous

Courageous, The Movie: Official Courageous Resources

National Fatherhood Initiative: InsideOUt Dad Christian

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