Catching Faith
by Phil Boatwright

Entertainment: +2
Content: +3

Lorena Segura York, Garrett Westton, Lauren Myers, and in a very small role, though he gets top billing on the DVD jacket, Bill Engvall. Directed by John K.D. Graham. New on DVD 8/18/15

FILM SYNOPSIS: A seemingly perfect family is falling apart. The son went against his high school sports code of ethics, the daughter may cheat on a test, and the mother is more concerned with social appearances than the realities of family life.

PREVIEW REVIEW: As I’ve stated frequently, I don’t like writing a negative reaction to any film, let alone one promoting a need for a Christ-centered life. But I also fear that Christian film companies are now taking their lead from secular Hollywood by relying on good promotion (paid and unpaid) to hide their products’ failings. Many Christian filmmakers are hoping you’ll buy their lackluster movies simply because the words “faith-based” are attached. I fear business has trumped artistry and message. And this one is being promoted beyond all reason.

These Christian film companies expect you to pay the same price you’d pay for a Hollywood production. And as with any good publicity company centered in the heart of Tinseltown, publicity companies are hyping this one as if it were The Passion of the Christ. It isn’t.

While the premise is true (people put on fronts), each of these family members, who have everything, each need a spanking more than a Sunday School lesson. A more self-centered bunch of characters I can’t remember seeing in a faith-based production about faith-based people.

By film’s end, all the problems are nicely resolved. Really? That didn’t even happen for Job. Yes, he was restored, but his children were still dead and in the book God never told Job why he had to endure his suffering. My point: even those of true faith are not immune to struggles, tragedies, disappointments, just because you put God first. There will remain some unanswered prayers – well, seemingly unanswered prayers. They are answered, of course, but in God’s timing, not ours.

The acting is adequate, but certainly not outstanding. Why is good acting essential? The story is dealing with emotions and very powerful ordeals. A filmmaker has to know how to best photograph the actor and the actor must be in top form in order to relate that emotion – often with subtlety. Indeed, most often, it is most effective when done with subtlety. There is no subtlety here.

Best example of a lack of nuance in the production rests with the musical score. I wondered if the composer had been paid by the note, for it is difficult to find a sequence that doesn’t contain a drown of musicality throughout. At one point there is a montage of the family going about its business (perhaps the longest montage in movie history) with an endless cacophony of dull noise that would test the nervous system of a punk rocker.

Will someone come to know the Lord by viewing this production? Perhaps it will get some to think. And therefore I will spend a sleepless night at the thought that I may have dissuaded that person from viewing Catching Faith. But let me ask you: if I reviewed the makers of tables, and you were set to buy a table, wouldn’t you want my honest opinion about a certain table maker’s product? Or should I remain quiet because the table maker was well intentioned, despite the fact that his square table only has three legs?

While there is no other subject more difficult to represent on the motion picture screen than the need for a spiritual revival, here are a few that I feel (it’s just an opinion) came closer to touching the heart and soul than Catching Faith.

DVD ALTERNATIVES:

Faith Like Potatoes
Cotton Patch Gospel
A Man Called Peter
Luther
Jesus of Nazareth
Amish Grace
Tender Mercies
A Greater Yes
The Tree of Life
Unanswered Prayers
The Ultimate Life
Where Was God?
Do You Believe?
God’s Not Dead
The Genesis Code

There, now maybe I’ll be able to sleep better.