A.C. at the Movies…

Commentary by A.C. Hall
Commentary by A.C. Hall

War Room

Being a Christian and a movie critic can be an interesting challenge sometimes.  Historically, when reviewing faith based films, I review them simply as if they’re any other movie.  I’m not certain I can do that with War Room.  I found this to be such an uplifting and powerful spiritual experience that I’m not certain how to differentiate between the quality of the film and the quality of the film’s message.  What I will say is that I found this to be a high quality film, and its message had a major impact on me as a follower of Jesus Christ.  My approach to movie reviews has always been to just give my honest opinion, and from that standpoint War Room is easily among the best films I’ve seen so far in 2015.

In a broad view, War Room is a movie about the power of prayer.  What really elevated the movie far above that, however, is the way it avoided one very common pitfall of faith based films.  For whatever reason, faith based films almost always try to focus on a huge cast of characters.  You don’t just get the story of one person, you get the story of ten.  Some pull it off better than others, but inevitably you’re not getting to spend much time with any one character.
War Room avoids this by taking a much more traditional approach to a family drama.  This is a story of one family, and the way in which their interaction with a stranger changed them dramatically.  It may sound simple, but this focus on one main family allowed the film to go much deeper with the characters, which really benefits the story.  You grow to deeply know and care for this family.  You laugh with them, but you also experience first hand the struggles that exist in the marriage and between the parents and their child.
I want to take a minute to really spotlight how wonderful the performances are in this film.  Karen Abercrombie is such a scene stealer as the old woman Miss Clara.  She’s funny, and she’s also the most memorable character.  However, I was most impressed with Priscilla Shirer, who plays the mother in the film.  She’s forced to carry the bulk of the movie, and that’s a tall order considering the story.  So much of the film is based around the everyday trials of life, and it’s not easy to make that come to life on screen.  Shirer excels at it, however, and gives an incredible performance.
It’s been a long time since a film moved me to tears, but War Room did it multiple times.  It’s also been a long time since I heard a theater give a round of applause when a movie ended, but that happened too when I saw War Room.  There’s something incredibly powerful about the message in this film that’s hard to express within the confines of a movie review.  I’ll simply say that you should go and see it, and you should take along anyone and everyone you can get to go with you.  This movie is full of great warmth, deep wisdom, and has some great laughs and wonderful performances as well.

This movie is rated PG for thematic elements throughout