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MOVIE REVIEW

The Case for Christ also known as “A Jézus-dosszié,” “O Caso de Cristo”

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for thematic elements including medical descriptions of crucifixion, and incidental smoking.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Good—highly recommended
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens Family
Genre:
Christian Biography Drama
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2017
USA Release:
April 7, 2017 (wide—1,174 theaters)
DVD: August 15, 2017
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Pure Flix Entertainment
God—Does he exist?

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

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Copyright, Pure Flix Entertainment
Bible—Is it true?

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer

truth

Word of God

Jesus Christ—Is He real?

Is Jesus Christ a myth? Answer

MIRACLES—Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer

Archaeology—Have any burial sites been found for the people involved in Christ’s life and death? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death andResurrection

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

About faith and hope

Copyright, Pure Flix Entertainment
What is your eternal destiny?
Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.
Featuring: Mike Vogel … Lee Strobel
Erika Christensen … Leslie Strobel
Faye Dunaway … Dr. Roberta Waters, Purdue University Professor of Psychiatry
Robert Forster … Walter Strobel
Frankie Faison … Joe Dubois
L. Scott Caldwell … Alfie Davis
Mike Pniewski … Kenny London
Kevin Sizemore … Dr. Gary Habermas, historian, New Testament scholar, and philosopher of religion
Rus Blackwell … Dr. William Craig, analytic philosopher, theologian, apologist and historian
Tom Nowicki … Dr. Alexander Metherell, M.D., Ph.D.
Brett Rice … Ray Nelson, Lee’s atheist skeptic mentor
Jordan Cox … Bill Hybels
Renell Gibbs … James Dixon
Haley Rosenwasser … Alison Strobel
See all »
Director: Jon Gunn—“Do You Believe?” (2015), “Like Dandelion Dust” (2009), “Mercy Streets” (2000), “My Date with Drew” (2004)
Producer: Triple Horse Studios
Brian Bird
See all »
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment

“The only way to truth is from facts,” so says the banner hanging in the Chicago Tribune office on the day that Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) is brought onboard as their newest journalist and soon to be legal editor. He is successful, has a beautiful wife, a young daughter and is sitting on top of the proverbial world.

Lee is also an atheist who, as he explains to his daughter, only believes in what he can “see and touch.” His wife Leslie (Erika Christensen) has been of the same mind until one day when a tragedy is narrowly averted and the nurse, Alfie (L. Scott Caldwell), who saves their daughter remarks that they should thank Jesus.

While Lee is grateful, though untouched by that statement, Leslie begins her own search for God which will lead her to believe in Jesus and become a Christian. Lee is so disappointed in his wife’s abandoning of reason that he begins his own quest, unknown to his wife, to debunk Christianity and all it stands for, in order to regain the rational wife he feels he has lost.

“The Case for Christ” is based on the powerful true story of Lee Strobel’s investigation to disprove the deity of Christ. In the film, he challenges every tenet of Christianity, including: the existence of Jesus, whether or not he ever died, his resurrection and more, but instead finds the evidence is strongly against his theory, eventually putting the award-winning journalist at odds with truth itself.

There is barely any objectionable material of concern in this film, making it a family-friendly movie. Lee and Leslie are seen kissing on several occasions, verbally fighting during others and the harshest words spoken are “jerk” and “prostitute,” and the latter is not directed towards Leslie, but is a reference to a biblical character. Alcohol is noticeable several times, as Lee drinks beers both at home and at a bar. On one occasion, he is seen in a drunken stupor during which he violently throws some kitchen pots down, but apologizes soon after.

Lessons

“The Case for Christ” is a positive and ultimately uplifting film that embodies some very biblical themes including fatherhood, seeking God, faith and humility.

Fatherhood: The most unexpected issue visited has to be that of the importance of fathers. Lee’s relationship with his own father is an estranged one and has kept them apart for years. When we finally meet him, he is cold, seemingly aloof and disinterested in his successful son Lee. There is incredible insight as to how this can impact one’s ability to relate to God our Father in Heaven. Suffice it to say that the Word of God is clear on what the role of fathers is to be in children’s lives—and the long term importance of loving guidance.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” —Ephesians 6:4

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

Seeking God: Both Lee and his wife Leslie are shown seeking the truth about God, although their intentions are vastly different. Leslie is beginning to see how God has always existed, even in those years that she spent denying Him, and now she is earnestly trying to connect with her Lord. The Bible has good news for those like Leslie:

“I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” —Proverbs 8:17

Unfortunately, this is in stark contrast to Lee’s biased search for empirical proof that Jesus is only a myth.

“The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God’.” —Psalm 10:4

However, Holy Scripture holds both hope and condemnation depending upon where your ‘heart’ is and your ultimate decision to receive or reject Jesus.

“…for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” —1 Chronicles 28:9

Faith: Lee is quick to mock Christians, and in turn his wife for what he understands is baseless faith. Although the preponderance of evidence he uncovers goes contrary to his ‘rational’ based atheism, Lee’s likewise non-believing mentor points out that denying God also requires a leap of faith, because not everything is ‘knowable.’ A God that can create the universe and all that it encompasses will never be completely understood by man. Praise God He has given us enough to find Him and not merely through His Creation, but through His Word and his only begotten Son who died for us.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” —Hebrews 11:1

Humility: Before Lee comes to his final conclusion, he is humbled greatly through a misreading of the facts on a criminal case he is working on. Understanding that your own bias will affect how you treat a story and craft the narrative is a lesson that is lost on many journalists today, but one that humbles the formerly proud Lee and makes him a better reporter and person.

“It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” —Proverbs 16:19

“He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way.” —Psalm 25:9

The main cast does a fine job, especially in the key supporting characters of Leslie (Christensen), Alfie (Caldwell) and the likeable co-worker Kenny (Mike Pniewski), with some less important characters, unevenly played, being given appropriately less screen time. However, the solid portrayal of Lee Strobel by Vogel is imbued with the realistic skepticism and self-righteous fervor that is crucial for the role.

In “The Case for Christ,” as in life, there is no abrupt realization of the truth, but rather a slow shedding of the falsehoods that are built up over a lifetime, and the film does a remarkable job of letting the audience feel what that must have been like. Highly recommended.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

Official site

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—A superb film! Not only does the movie present evidence and key facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ in an interesting way, but also the personal true story of Lee Strobel’s life and journey while researching is very compelling, and has a strong impact. A very personal testimony interwoven with golden threads of truth about Christ makes this film a powerful witness. Very moving. May it give many skeptics pause, may they seek answers for themselves, even if they start by reading the full book, The Case For Christ. The FILM touches on the most important facts, the tip of the iceberg of evidence each expert reveals in Lee’s interviews. The BOOK devotes a full chapter on each question and delves deeply into the evidence.

Excellent acting, script, screenplay. Excellent film. Highly recommended. Invite others to go with you!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—This movie is the true story of Lee Stroebel’s journey from atheism to faith. The movie was excellent, with great acting, true, compelling drama, and accurate period clothing and props. I think that both non-Christians and Christians will be able to relate to it. A great film to bring to encourage an unbelieving or agnostic friend to see! I could not recommend it more highly.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Rusty Entrekin, age 58 (USA)
Positive—I went to a special screening of the movie last night, which was delayed for over an hour and a half (something to do with the transmission of the exclusive question and answer session that was to follow the feature); that aside, it was a good film, though I think the song that plays over the scene where Leslie and Alfie go to church which drowned out most of what the preacher was saying was a really bad choice, as it took away the emotional impact of the scene. Other than that, it was a good movie, with standout performances by Erika Christensen, Frankie Faison, Robert Forster and Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway. Mike Vogel was okay, despite having little resemblance to the real author. Rated PG.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
D, age 31 (USA)
Positive—This is a great movie for many reasons, including showing real emotions and real struggles for those who find faith and those who struggle to understand. I really enjoyed the story and thought it was very touching and very informative. It gives you a better view from the side of a non-believer when someone they love comes to faith in Christ. It was a true portrayal of real life and, of course, of one man’s journey to faith through trying to dismantle his wife’s beliefs. And the beautiful demonstration of a prayerful wife on behalf of her husband.

The acting was excellent it was like you were there in their struggle. The story is was presented covered his main objections he had with the answers he found. And everyone in my group learn something new from the investigation he did. The amazing thing is how God took this one atheist and transformed his life into something wonderful. And that Lee’s books have reached millions around the world THAT WAS THE BEST MIRACLE OF ALL, WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH ONE LIFE WHOSE HEART IS IN HIS HANDS. Every one applauded the movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Sharon, age 56 (USA)
Positive—My wife and I both enjoyed the movie very much. I thought it brought out the hardship of Lee’s wife quite a bit. That is, becoming a Christian while her husband was antagonistic towards Christianity. The encouragement Lee’s wife received from a church member is a great example for us all. The movie gave a real sense of realism to the events that occurred. A lot of time was covered in the real event which was condensed in the two hours, but the movie was put together very well. Two thumbs up from us.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Russ, age 64 (USA)
Positive—“The Case For Christ” was actually really good. I had read the book, so I was disappointed that the part about the gospel of Luke wasn’t in the movie. Great Christian values and I believe shows Lee Strobel as a true atheist. Until he finds faith!

Thank you for showing such a great movie. I called all my grown children and told them go see this movie. I recommend it to Christian’s and nonbelievers alike. If you haven’t seen this movie, please go to see it. It’s not too late!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Christian, age 44 (USA)
Positive—Loved this movie! The acting was not cheesy this time, and let's be real, a lot of the Christian movies, while really good, have some pretty cheesy acting. I definitely recommend this movie! I love learning the different proofs for Christ’s death and resurrection, the humor, and movie-making quality! Go see it!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Violet, age 21 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—It is with the greatest trepidation that I offer criticism to one of the rare movies that praises our Lord; but, his wife is not a good Christian example. …2nd Timothy 2:24-25 or 1st Peter 3:2, the latter reads: “…Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words.” When the couple go dancing to forget their marital problems, she preaches at him as they hug on the dance floor. The acting is good, but the cinematographer had little to work with in this script, giving the movie a low-budget appearance. My wife said she enjoyed the book more.

Nevertheless, go see the movie! It needs our support, and, after reading this, I pray you will be pleasantly surprised.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
Brian Schacht, age 70 (Canada)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

A somewhat similar drama that we produced years ago
Movie Critics
…“The Case for Christ” makes a strong argument for mass appeal… breaks the mold of Christian films, delivering a rich and compelling narrative along with the steadfast message of Christ's love. …[4½/5]
Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk
…a terrific drama reminiscent of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, with its own examples of excellent acting… the facts win the case… [4/4]
Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…An intriguing faith-based detective story… the movie likely will impress even dedicated nonbelievers with its willingness to place as much emphasis on empirical evidence as on blind faith. …
Joe Leydon, Variety
…prioritizes drama over evidence… The subplots keep the film moving, giving something for even nonbelievers to latch on to. …the meat of the movie is in the evidence the reporter amasses, and it’s here that both the devout and the doubters may be disappointed. Unlike the detailed arguments in the source material, the adaptation skims the surface of what Strobel found…
Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I’m a born again Christian, but I believe that the shroud of Turin is fake and forged. It is already proven that this relic is forge on CNN documentary. They studied it and carbon-dated, and the result was too far from the date where Jesus died. This is the only reason I will not watch this movie. I’ve been a fan of Pureflix films, but this movie has one flaw. One flaw ruins the entire movie. I suggest that in making a movie, do a lot of research. We are accountable in every wrong information that we spread.
—Benjie, age 29 (Philippines)