Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
About the real-life American contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly before they married
Where did CANCER come from? Answer
A love story as God intended, between two people and God
Hope in the midst of pain
What God did amidst all the hard things Jeremy Camp went through
How to develop that kind of love
Love that goes beyond fear and beyond any doubt
How God can take you through your greatest fear and come out on the other side still loving God and having grown spiritually and emotionally—and found beauty, purpose, and a meaning in those trials
Sometimes God uses such things more than He uses the good things that happen to shape us, to mold us and to give us our voice
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
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
K.J. Apa … Jeremy Camp
Britt Robertson … Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp
Gary Sinise … Tom Camp
Shania Twain … Terry Camp
Abigail Cowen … Adrienne Camp
Melissa Roxburgh … Heather Henning
Nathan Parsons … Jean-Luc
Cameron Arnett … Dr. Furst
Reuben Dodd … Josh Camp
Nicolas Bechtel …
Tanya Christiansen … Janette Henning
Gregory Hobson … Himself
Katie Anne Moy … Jacqueline
See all »
Kevin Downes Productions
Kingdom Story Company
Erwin Brothers Entertainment
See all »
|Distributor:||Lionsgate (Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.)|
The young, aspiring artist, Jeremy Camp (K.J. Apa—“Riverdale” TV series, “The Last Summer,” “The Hate U Give”), lives a quiet, humble life in the rural town of Lafayette, Indiana with his father, Tom (Gary Sinise), his mother, Terry (Shania Twain), and his two brothers. We come upon Jeremy as he is about to leave home and head to Murietta, California to attend the Calvary Chapel Bible College.
One night at his school, he sneaks backstage at a contemporary Christian rock concert and, while watching he spots a beautiful young woman in the audience who’s fully engaged in the worship. He name is Melissa (Britt Robertson). Jeremy immediately decides he has to meet this girl.
Soon afterwards, the friendship between Melissa and Jeremy grows into something more… a relationship. However, things take a turn for the worst as it’s discovered that Melissa is diagnosed with an aggressive, advanced stage of ovarian cancer. Despite her diagnosis, Jeremy deeply loves Melissa and asks Melissa for her hand in marriage, and she agrees.
“I Still Believe” is a very daring, yet beautifully told story revealing Jeremy Camp’s walk with God. What makes the film so daring is not simply using more well-known actors like K.J. Apa and Britt Robertson to attract movie-goers to the film (the last time I remember seeing this was in the film “I Can Only Imagine” with actors like Cloris Leechman and Dennis Quaid making appearances in addition to J. Michael Finney playing the lead), but to construct an entire feature film, nearly two hours (moderately-paced) around such a personal, and albeit, tragic set of circumstances. Not only that, Jeremy Camp, himself, ensured that he was part of the creative process in making the film, ensuring accuracy and making sure the right message was getting across to the audiences. As Mr. Camp stated…
To put it simply, “I Still Believe” is a work of cinematic excellence and beauty, prominently displaying the joys and hardships of living a life for Christ without “sugarcoating it,” which, to be honest, is nice to see. For me, personally, I feel the film deals with issues such as love, marriage, faith, prayer, and trust with just the right level of substance—not overly theological but not too thin either, which is the film’s strongest aspect.
Additionally, K.J. Appa, Britt Robertson and particularly Gary Sinise (who plays Jeremy’s father Tom Camp) put in some of the strongest performances of their careers. I felt Jeremy Camp’s pain in my seat, even knowing the end result. I empathized with Tom as he struggles to provide his son advice during his trials and struggles. Lastly, the music of Jeremy Camp (mostly his well-known pieces) are appropriately placed throughout the film.
VIOLENCE: In a brief fit of anger, Melissa smashes a jar of pickles on the ground and the glass breaks. She then proceeds to smash other pieces of glass on the ground. In another moment of anger, another character breaks a guitar, smashing it against objects until it finally breaks.
LANGUAGE: Someone says “Shut up.”
SEX: After they are engaged and later when married, Melissa and Jeremy share several kisses, a couple of them passionate. We also see them in bed together shortly after they are married (clothed). Jeremy and Melissa stay in the same house together, while they are engaged, as Jeremy is taking care of her (we do not see them share the same bed though).
OTHER: Jeremy sneaks past security to watch a concert from backstage. Melissa and Jeremy share a secret relationship to prevent their best friend Jean-Luc from finding out (apparently Jean-Luc had feelings for Melissa, but she didn’t have feelings for him). We see Melissa’s hair fall out from all the chemotherapy she’s been receiving. We see a character hemorrhaging over a sink (with blood).
“I Still Believe” successfully touches upon themes of love (marriage, God’s love for us in the midst of our pain, etc.), prayer, emotional and spiritual healing, and particularly the challenging theme of “trusting in God in the midst of suffering.” In an interview, one of the co-directors stated the following:
“…[the] film grapples with [the question of why God allows suffering.] …I think we forget so many times that there is a beauty, and a purpose, and a meaning in the difficult things we go through. And that sometimes God uses those things more than He uses the good things that happen to shape us, to mold us and to give us our voice… It’s a love story as God intended, between these two people and God, and between these two people and each other.”
As I write this, I can’t help but compare the themes found in “I Still Believe” to what is going on in the world right now (how timely the film’s release is). There are thousands of individuals around the world who have been affected by the SARS-CoV-19 virus. Some, unfortunately, have not been able to recover from the ghastly COVID-19 disease. It’s times like these that people have stopped and wondered, “Where is God in all the midst of this pain and suffering?” “In all of this hysteria, is He still here?”
Yes! God is still here in all of this. It is not that He doesn’t care. In fact, He DOES care. He cares SO much that it pains Him to watch us suffer, and He suffers because of the Sin that has been cast into the world.
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” —Hebrews 2:9-10
Again, I can’t state this enough… God is STILL in control, in the midst of all of this.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah—41:10
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you… ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’” —2 Chronicles 20:5-6, 9
“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” —Psalm 34:15
“I Still Believe” is one of the most powerful films I’ve seen since “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s a film that NEEDS to be seen by many Christians, especially with what is going on in the world right now. The film is a solemn reminder that God is always near the downtrodden, the brokenhearted and the suffering. *MINOR SPOILER* Jeremy Camp’s story does have a happy ending. Many years later, Mr. Camp remarried and had three beautiful children but, to this day, always takes time to remember his first wife, Melissa. *END SPOILER*
In short, “I Still Believe” is beautifully shot, performed and delivered to the right audiences at the right time. I highly recommend it to all audiences. And lastly I leave you the words of Twila Paris, who said it best in her song, “God is in Control”…
“God is in control,
We believe that His children will not be forsaken.
God is in control,
We will choose to remember and never be shaken.
There is no power above or beside Him,
we know, God is in control.”
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.