Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
Better than Average
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
April 19, 2002
Church in the Bible
Who was Joshua in the Bible?
Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer
TRINITY—How can one God be three persons? Answer
CHARACTER—Is Christ’s character consistent with his high claims? Answer
MIRACLES—Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer
Could Christ have sinned? Answer
What is the Gospel?
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
THE POPE OR THE HOLY SPIRIT—Who is the true “Vicar of Christ”? Answer
Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer
Interested in Christian movies? See our Christian Film News Web site.
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
What does God say? Answer
Is Jesus Christ God? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
“On man holds the answer.”
The quiet little town of Auburn will never be the same. One cool summer evening a stranger walks into their midst carrying only a backpack and a gentle smile. This peaceful but divided town consists of several congregations mingled into a thriving metropolis… Catholic, Baptist, and Charismatic. They live in harmony but never extend a hand to their neighbors. And the crown atop this glittering existence is Father Tardone, a strict man of convictions and beliefs, who keeps a tight reign on his associate priest, Father Pat.
Joshua moves into a dilapidated old barn on the outside of town and begins to make changes. In addition to befriending a hurting widow, a troubled teenager, a stuttering would-be pastor, and a confused Priest, he begins to rebuild the burned-out Baptist church building… and slowly everyone becomes involved, from Catholics to Protestants and Jews. Father Tardone, learning that he is a master of wood carving, asks him to sculpt a statue of Saint Peter for the church but soon realizes that this important task has been shelved for what Joshua considers more important duties…
He appears with Pat at a charismatic youth service, teaches a hurting housewife how to cook, helps a teen learn electric guitar, and has a long talk with a congregational member… all at the same time. Then one day it all comes to a head when Joshua comes across a “Revival” meeting that involves healing by faith. When he walks into the tent, no miracles have yet been proven. But when he leaves, a blind girl has been given the gift of sight. It becomes a hot topic all over town, enthralling most of Joshua’s friends and followers… and concerning Father Tardone.
Is Joshua what he seems? The priest begins to reflect on the “miracles” that have begun happening all over town and is drawing a horrifying parallel. This stranger must be stopped, before he destroys the faith of the prisoners, the town, and the church. This sounds familiar, right? A charismatic man that people follow without question, who heals broken hearts, the blind, and can raise the dead. He also plays a mean game of pool and has a lot of wisdom to share, particularly the message that whatever you’ve done, God loves you anyway.
“Joshua” is a deeply touching story with many venues for both discussion and thought. So much happens in the two hours’ time that you spend on this film that you almost regret leaving the theater. If I could have, I would have turned around and gone right back in to the next showing. The film touches on many fronts… the Catholic church, a Baptist congregation, a charismatic service, even a rock-concert-turned-church service with guest stars Third Day. The music rocks (with an original score by Michael W. Smith, it should!), The storyline is good, and the acting starts out a bit shaky but improves with the full performances of F. Murray Abraham, Tony Goldwyn, and Kurt Fuller.
From the little town of Auburn to the Vatican in Rome, Joshua proves that whenever Jesus touches a life, it becomes dramatically altered. Town quibbles are put aside. A grieving widow learns that she lived for a reason. A hurting housewife discovers that wounds can be healed… and Father Pat and Tardone are each challenged in their own ways to evaluate their faith and system of beliefs. In the meantime, there are humorous sidelines, memorable moments, and life-altering instances of compassion, belief, and miracles. This film proves that you can more than just make a G-rated movie for adults; you can make a thought-provoking and enthralling film for any age. I saw children in the theater in addition to grandparents, teenagers, and a few couples.
Many reviewers have slammed “Joshua,” saying that the gospel message is nonexistent. This is complete bunk. It’s there again, and again, and again. The writers chose not to spell it out, but to show it through the miracles that he performs. He takes a shattered existence, and makes it beautiful. He takes a blind girl and makes her see. He raises a man from death. And perhaps the most profound message of all: he begins the work… and others finish it. Jesus did not come here to do our work for us. We have a responsibility to see it done ourselves.
This movie may not be perfect. It may not have the special effects or thrills of “Spider-Man” or the cinematic faces of Angelina Jolie or Tom Hanks. But it’s a profoundly good movie with a knock-out message that any Christian… or any seeker… should see. Load up the van, take your friends, and catch the web-weaver *next* weekend. “Joshua” won’t be around long at the box office; let’s make him feel welcome.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.