Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
|Featuring:||Kevin Downes … John
David A.R. White … Wayne
Stephen Baldwin … Mansfield
Candace Cameron Bure … Cynthia
Rebecca St. James … Annie
Si Robertson (of “Duck Dynasty”) … Gas Station Clerk
Sean McGowan … Steven George
Scott Whyte … Eddie Adams
Ryan Doom … Pvt. Shears
Chriss Anglin … Arresting Officer
Peggy Lord Chilton … Julia
Michael Daley … Pvt. Goldstein
Brian F. Durkin … Rocky
|Producer:||Downes Brothers Entertainment
Pure Flix Entertainment
|Distributor:||Pure Flix Entertainment|
“A story of fatherhood. A journey of brotherhood.”
Before I viewed “Faith of our Fathers,” I thought it would be a heavy, serious movie. Instead, it turned out to be a classic road trip movie, wrought with mishaps along the way. There are many movies out that use the same idea—two complete opposites are forced to take a road trip together while their personalities clash, thus providing comic relief along the way as they get into various disasters.
John Paul (Kevin Downes) never met his father who died in Vietnam, and his mother never talked about it. When cleaning out his mother’s home, he comes across his father’s belongings and discovers the name of someone who served with his dad. Hoping to learn more, he attempts to contact him, only to finally find the man’s son who ends up hanging up on him. This leads him to leave his fiancé to make a trip (another classic road trip plot line, adding a wife, fiancé, impending birth or wedding) to find the only person who seems to know anything about his dad.
Wayne (David A.R. White) also lost his father to the Vietnam war. He was a boy when his dad left for war and grew up to be a harsh, bitter man. Latter John Paul shows up on his doorstep looking for information, Wayne eventually says they are going to the wall (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) to see their fathers’ names. He bribes John Paul into going, by saying he can read the letters from Wayne’s father… for a price.
Along the way, the two men cannot find any common ground, other than their fathers serving and dying together. They argue constantly, meet some shady characters and even end up in jail. There are flashbacks throughout the film, so that it parallels the lives of John Paul and Wayne and that of their fathers in Vietnam.
I wasn’t expecting this movie to be at all comical, so it threw me that it was. It was a little disconcerting, at first, because I expected the movie to have a somber tone throughout. I was also expecting to love this movie, or at least to really like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t think it was funny; I thought it tried too hard and that many parts of the film were too staged, not at all natural. Some of the mishaps along the way were too contrived and the dialog felt recited. The scenes where they are driving were obviously done on a set.
Toward the end of the movie, it becomes emotional, as both men find answers to their questions about how their fathers lived and died. They learn what kind of men they were and how their own friendship grew when thrown together in war. I finally found myself feeling empathetic toward the characters. How their fathers’ deaths had affected their mothers’ lives and their own and their shared hurts and loss brought the film together.
In terms of any content that may have been objectionable, it is a stretch to find any. The only thing that I could possibly think that may bother some is when the men are driving and Wayne says “Just smack her, smack her” referring to John Paul’s fiancé, after John Paul talks to her on the phone. There is a fist fight and some gunfight during the war scenes. It spite of its PG-13 rating, it is far more tame than most PG movies.
The movie shows how faith in God brought courage and comfort in a time of fear. How we live our Christian lives can speak more than our words, and Stephen George (Sean McGowan), John Paul’s father, showed his faith in God and that had lasting effects even on generations to come. The movie closes with the verse “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). This is a film about faith and friendship. If you wish to see a Christian film, this is a decent one. It isn’t one of my top choices, as the aforementioned aspects detract from the production quality, but if you wish to support Christian films or prefer a film that is not offensive, this will do.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…a compelling, touching movie with a strong Christocentric, evangelistic message focusing on Jesus. …the movie as a whole is engaging, and the ending is touching and enthralling. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…a sincere tribute to the military and the families they left behind. …a fair effort in a genre new to Christian films… There are acting issues here, and plot holes big enough to drive a tank through, but the emotional journey is probably worth taking nonetheless. …
—Susan Ellingburg, Crosswalk
…disappointed me… I found this one tedious, clunky, and predictable. …
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…A laudable message falls victim to amateurish cinematic execution… undone by its wobbly tone, hokey script and amateurish execution. …once again demonstrates that good intentions don’t necessarily result in compelling cinema. …
—Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…another dubious cinematic sermon from the outfit behind “God’s Not Dead.” …has a tough time serving up a halfway believable moment, let alone a moving and powerful testimony about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. …
—Justin Chang, Variety
…“Faith of Our Fathers” not only is the gospel lived out but a great reminder of how the faith of our fathers impacts generations to come. …
—Tom Cheshire, Relevant Practical Ministries for Men
…This is the most positive, uplifting film about the Vietnam era I have EVER seen. … THANK YOU! And THANK YOU for the clear presentation of the Gospel. …
—Statt Riddlebarger, Ph.D., Pastor, Pearsall Road Church, San Antonio—Vietnam veteran
…a moving drama… contains humor, war drama, and this message: nothing can prevent the love of a father still reaching his son even after he’s gone, and that God’s love is also for all time. …