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Do You Believe? Movie Review

"Do you Believe" is a film from Pure Flix, the creators of "God's Not Dead," about how 12 people's lives are changed and impacted by a small number of people truly living out their faith.  This was a very ambitious story which took at least 6 different story lines and wove them together.  The result was an impressive and inspirational film that I genuinely enjoyed.  

It's set in Chicago, with many areas of the city clearly recognizable to those of us who have lived there.  The film opens with a man wheeling a wooden cross down the street asking people he meets if they believe in the cross of Christ.  This man is unnamed, and never seen again until after the resolution of the movie, but it is ultimately his action that sparks the chain reaction in the various stories through the movie.

There are 12 main characters in this movie, but its easier to think of them as groups of two or three or four.  These groupings form the heart of the story, since all the groupings are based on the needs that the group exhibits.  These needs are then met at the end as a result of the active faith of the members within the group.

This movie deals with issues of illness, barrenness, the loss of a child, abortion, adoption, homelessness, crime, murder, suicide, PTSD, and workplace evangelism in the lives of the characters.  It does a very good job of making these issues real for the people involved, and reveals the miraculous handiwork of God in resolving those issues.  Not all of the issues are resolved at the end.  The movie makes it clear that faith is not a cure-all for every circumstance in life, but it can empower you to live your life not as a victim, but as a faithful believer.

I have just a couple of criticisms about the movie in general.  The first is that I feel as though the movie didn't have time to adequately present all the characters to me.  For example: After the movie I only knew the names of about two-thirds of the characters.  I had to look up their names on IMDB afterwards because the film didn't really do a great job of introducing all the characters they are dealing with.  

Secondly, a couple of the issues in the lives of the characters that they need to resolve are told to the audience and not shown.  In a visual medium such as a film it would be more impacting to show the audience the things that occur in the character's life that make them who they are.  For example, in the movie the marine's friend lost his life because he came to save him.  So instead of having a scene where the marine is under fire, with a helicopter swooping in to save him only to be shot out of the sky by an RPG, that story is simply told to us in his dialogue with another character.  

I do not fully understand why they decided to go this route with him, since the film did not actively try to avoid violence.  There is at least one instance of off-screen gun fire, and one protracted gunfight/chase which directly results in an on-screen murder.  They easily could have worked in a scene of the marine's experience and fleshed out his character a little more, making his PTSD more understandable, and making his story more compelling.  They may not have had time or budget to allow for this, but I felt that it short-changed his character and made him more of a side character as opposed to a main influence on the story.

The movie is still unrated.  The Pure Flix representative said it will probably get a PG-13 rating.  I would concur with that assessment myself.  It definitely deals with issues like suicide, and there is a murder on screen that young children probably should not see, as well as an intense multi-vehicle pile-up.

Overall I enjoyed the movie.  It was moving, ambitious, and dealt with hard real-life issues head-on.  I would recommend seeing it if you are a believer, or bringing an un-churched or de-churched friend to see it.  The movie opens in select theaters on March 20th, 2015.  Their website is doyoubelieve.com.  You can find theaters showing the film there, as well as buy a theater or showtime if your group or church is interested.

Thanks to Pure Flix for extending us an advance-screening invite!  Overall, I think you made an excellent film that deals with hard issues responsibly and biblically.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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