My church gave out tickets for this film, so I took my teenage daughter and son to see it. And since our family owns all four of the Kendrick brothers’ movies that were produced under Sherwood Pictures–Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), and Courageous (2011)–we were excited to see their new offering.
Here’s my impression of the Kendrick brothers latest film, War Room, and a few observations.
Overall, the acting was very good. Priscilla Shirer played Elizabeth Jordan, a successful real estate agent whose marriage is crumbling. T.C. Stallings plays Tony Jordan, a successful pharmaceutical salesman whose selfishness causes his wife and daughter to feel unloved and neglected. Karen Abercrombie plays Miss Clara, an elderly saint who desires to pass on what she has learned about prayer to those who are younger in the faith. Young Alena Pitts who plays the daughter, Danielle Jordan, does a decent job as well. At times the dialogue between characters sounded more like the careful teaching you would hear from a pulpit than natural conversation, but overall the script was pretty good.
The movie deals with family relationship issues that most people can connect with, so the sad scenes will likely evoke the emotional response and connection the filmmakers were striving for. (They had me blinking back tears.) The comedy was hit and miss, overall not bad, but the running gag about Elizabeth Jordan’s foot odor got old.
While this film lacks the excitement of the Kendrick brothers’ previous films, it does have better acting and better writing. And while it will probably only appeal to a Christian audience, I believe it will also achieve its purpose, which is to remind Christians that prayer should be a priority since God can do what we cannot.
Strong complementarian theme: Husbands are to lead, and wives are to submit.
Pentecostal themes: Casting the devil out of your house; saying the name of Jesus to keep yourself safe when you are in danger; ending your prayers with the words “in Jesus name” to make them work; “sensing” that certain rooms were used for prayer.
Theological issues: The Bible never says the devil has seen hell (Hades) so it makes little sense to tell the devil to “go back to hell.” The movie plot implies that good things happen to godly people and bad things happen to ungodly people. (This was the conviction of Job’s friends as well.)
Seeming contradiction: The movie establishes early on that prayers should be said in privacy—in an inner room, Matthew 6:6—and throughout the film we see characters taking this passage very literally and praying in closed closets; however, at the end of the film as a triumphant music score plays in the background, there are displays of public prayer including athletes praying in the center of the field and students praying around a flag pole.
Christian political theme: The images near the end of the film of students praying in the classroom and around the American flag will appeal to those in the Christian Right who constantly post Facebook memes declaring that prayer should be put back in the classroom and students should be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
View the trailer here.
If you really like the movie, you can stock up on War Room merchandise here: http://warroommovieresources.com/
They have the War Room book, soundtrack, original score, Bible Study, teen Bible study, a book about how to pray, a woman’s guide to prayer, children’s books on prayer, wall décor and wall plaques, prayer journal, prayer cards, prayer pad/sticky notes, flip calendar, greeting cards, apparel, and mugs.