This Christian drama has heart, but not enough faith.
I don’t attend much Christian dramas, because of they lately present themselves with their bad acting, negative writing, and silly filmmaking. I believe in God, bare in mind, but I also believe relies groups shouldn’t be cynical about how they tell their stories. But every once in a while, I manage to find ones with potential like last year’s “Breakthrough” and this year’s “I Still Believe.”
“I Still Believe,” the current one I’m dishing on, is based on the story of a Christian singer Jeremy Camp, whom I’ve never heard of before, but then again, I learn musicians’ names through the movies. Anyway, the movie means well, but more or less could have been done with the biography, narrative, and character studies.
The following is based on his memoirs about his first marriage. We meet a young Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa), who falls for a beautiful girl named Melissa (Britt Robertson) at a concert. He also befriends a fellow singer named Jean-Luc (Nathan Parsons), who also fancies her. She knows that, too, and is mixed up about her dating Jeremy. When Jean-Luc finds out, and Melissa is depressed about this, she breaks up with Jeremy.
That is until he learns about her cancer. She knows God has a reason for her illness, but is still terrified by what is yet to come. And Jeremy is asked if he could live without her. That’s why they decide to get married, even if his parents (Gary Sinise and Shania Twain) believe he’s moving too fast. But he knows he loves her with all he is, and earns her love.
The rest of “I Still Believe” deals with the sad, cancerous stage of their fairy tale, and remember: it is based on the singer’s first marriage. It doesn’t turn out too well for them, and I’m not spoiling the movie, for the record. That’s what I’ve discovered.
The performances from Apa and Robertson are likable in their own sentimental ways, if not profoundly acted. Despite some awkward lines, they actually win you over with their sweetness and passion on life. And Parsons and Sinise have their own respective connections with Apa without hamming things up. Usually, these types of dramas grab big time actors in supporting roles just to help bring more people, but Sinise isn’t why I was interested in seeing it.
I admit “I Still Believe” doesn’t try as hard as most Christian dramas these days, but I felt its story breezes along, and it doesn’t really delve in the singer’s life. It should have given the main protagonists their character studies, like their ambitions and goals, even if we do get to see Melissa share her views of the cosmos with her boyfriend. It felt like it was just a summary instead a biography. The story has heart, lots of it, but it could of had more or less with it.
I’m in the middle of this movie. It has more potential than either “God’s Not Dead” or “The Identical,” but it’s not as inspiring as “Breakthrough.”