Reviewed by: Keith P. Soencksen
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What about the Psalm 91 promises? (“…no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent…”) Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
|Featuring:||Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn, Ian McShane, Anthony Mackie|
|Director:||Joseph McGinty Nichol|
|Producer:||Brent O'Connor, Thomas Tull, Jeanne Allgood|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“From the ashes we rose”
There’s just something different about seeing a movie when you know that it’s a true story. It affects us differently. We walk away realizing that real people actually experienced all that. Even more so when a major tragedy is involved, followed by healing and renewal that can only be described as divinely orchestrated. When we see tag lines like, “Based on true events”, we understandably become suspicious about how much is reality and how much is fiction. Not so with “We Are Marshall,” which begins with a solemn but clear statement: “This is a true story.”
The story covers the events of 1970-71 in rural Huntington, West Virginia, home of Marshall University. On the fateful night of November 14, 1970, nearly the entire Marshall football program was wiped out in a plane crash that devastated the fans, the families, the University, and the town. The calamity left just 3 veteran players and 1 assistant coach, who by God’s sovereign design, were not on the flight that night.
After 75 funerals, the weary college town can’t cope with the thought of continuing the MU football program. But the remaining players, led by a well-acted team co-captain Nate Ruffin, insist that Marshall football must continue to honor the victims. Finding coaches and players proves very difficult, and leads to the hiring of a most unlikely coach named Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey). Lengyel is from small town Ohio, and has no ties to Marshall whatsoever. Jack’s personality is magnetic, if a little eccentric, and watching him pull things together is nothing short of fascinating and positively awe inspiring.
I wish the youth of today were more interested in movies like this. The theater was scattered with 25 or so people, almost all of them over 50, and old enough to remember that sad day in 1970. The film presents strong lessons in dealing with tragedy and what’s really important in life, and does it with almost no objectionable material. The crash scene is very emotionally intense, but not graphic and bloody. Foul language is very mild (with zero uses of the Lord’s name in vain), and there’s not even a hint of sexual immorality. Scenes involving alcohol are few and mild.
The characters are well-developed and believable, and most viewers will empathize with all of them, to some degree. The movie does a masterful job of creating both the heart-pounding excitement that’s part of college football, and the heart-stopping horror that’s part of catastrophe. And yet, it doesn’t leave viewers down in the dumps. As was so well done in the movie “Invincible,” they’ve added emotion through the use of some great classic rock music from the late 60’s. Due solely to the intense emotional nature of the story, I would recommend the movie primarily to teens and older.
The movie’s one lacking is that it contains virtually no Christian content. Not that we should expect such from Hollywood, but it sure could’ve made this already fantastic film even better. God’s fingerprints are all over this story, and I am quite sure that much of this Bible-belt town and University turned to the Lord in ways that only the tragedies of life can make people turn. None of that is evident in the movie, save for a tiny part at the very end, when viewers are treated to photographs and video clips from the actual events. Within this brief slide show is a photo of a theater marquis, in what I can only guess to be downtown Huntington, WV. The caption quotes part of Job 1:21, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.”
But one thing we do know for sure: our God is totally sovereign. His own designs and purposes are behind every single microscopic event in the history of the universe. Even unspeakable disaster? Yes, even that.
Isaiah 43:7: “I form the light and create darkness. I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
Lamentations 3:38: “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?”
So how can we rest easy then? We can’t really, until we get to heaven. This life is short and never sure. But we can live without fear, having faith and trusting that God’s purposes will always come to pass, and are ultimately good. Even the horrible crucifixion of Christ was God’s own design (Acts 4:27-28). If we depend on Him alone for salvation, we can rest assured that all our questions will be answered in the next life.
Go see this movie!
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.