The Case for Christ tells the true story of Lee Strobel during his journey towards the development of his book with the same title. I was both excited and nervous to watch this film since The Case for Christ book has a very special meaning to me. During my time in college, I went through a dark period where I was tested in my faith and had to make a decision as to what I believed. It was then that I opened up The Case for Christ book that had been given to me months earlier. While the decision for my faith ultimately came from a moment with God, Lee Strobel’s book really helped me through that struggle. That is why I am pleased to inform you that this was a well-made movie and a beautiful story. Though the pace was a bit slow at times, it’s a Netflix gem that I would definitely watch again.
Based on a true story, The Case for Christ is the story of Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel), an investigative journalist and atheist who is upset when his wife, Leslie (Erika Christensen), becomes a Christian. In order to “save” her, he goes on a quest to prove that Christianity is a lie. The Case for Christ stars Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Flightplan, Parenthood), and L. Scott Caldwell (Lost, The Fugitive). It also features renowned actress Faye Dunaway (Chinatown, Mommie Dearest).
First of all; the wardrobe, hair and makeup, and set departments on this film deserve applause. Whenever a movie is set in a different era, it adds an extra level of difficulty to their jobs. The crew on this film did an amazing job of recreating the 1970’s (my favorite era) without going too stereotypical or cliché. The lighting and editing gave it the final touches needed to achieve that wonderful vintage feel.
The story, itself, was both heartfelt and educational. While Leslie is finding Christ and becoming a new person, Lee is pushing against Christianity as hard as he can. This creates a rift in their marriage and threatens to destroy it completely. Their frustrations radiate through screen and create a relatable and drama-filled story. Those emotions are periodically punctuated with Lee’s various findings. He meets with a variety of professionals well-known for their expertise in their various subjects. The facts that we learn in this film are documented in detail in The Case for Christ book.
I really like that they show a portion of the overwhelming and undeniable evidence for Christ. The best part is that they do this without taking away from the story. They also formatted it in such a way that I didn’t feel it was a copy of other films. It had its own unique flavor.
Unfortunately, I did have to take 1 star away in my rating due to the pacing of the film. I consider myself to have a very high attention span. When I was in the 5th grade, my favorite show was Matlock. However, even I found several moments where I wished they would have sped things up. It didn’t help that the film started to develop a pattern with its scenes that allowed me to predict (in generalities) what the next scene in the film was going to be about. While this in no way ruined the film for me, it did make portions of it a bit laborious.
Luckily, the stars of the film shined through. I actually forgot I was watching actors, which is the highest compliment I can give. Mike Vogel and Erika Christensen had particularly difficult scenes that they performed beautifully. Then, of course, we have Faye Dunaway. Her part wasn’t particularly large, but who cares? She’s iconic. The actress in me was screaming inside when she came on. I now have to go re-watch her scene.
WHAT AGE GROUP IS IT FOR?
Although technically rated PG, I would bump it up to PG-13. There isn’t anything really graphic in nature, but there is a scene that describes the anguish that Jesus went through in the crucifixion…in detail. Also, Lee is shown drinking, being drunk, and smashing things in anger. In general, the movie isn’t geared towards a younger audience and I feel that most children would find it too slow paced. High school age and older would be the ideal audience.
LOOKING TO SHOW IT AT CHURCH?
The Case for Christ would be the perfect movie to show in conjunction with a Bible study based on the book. I could see either showing the movie as a promotion for the Bible study or else as a celebratory reward at the end. If that’s not the route you want to take, than there are plenty of clips you could use in a sermon. Most of the clips, including the scene describing what Jesus physical went through on the cross, would be good for a sermon discussing Jesus’ deep love for us. There are a few other scenes that focus on prayer and not giving up on people. Lastly, a compilation of “evidence” scenes would be good to show…well…the evidence.