God's Not Dead is the latest entry in the Christian/family entertainment market. Directed by Harold Cronk, the movie sends a strong Christian message while being entertaining at the same time. The cast is largely full of lesser known actors with the exception of Kevin Sorbo and Willie Robertson, but all involved play their roles with competence.
The plot involves a college freshman named Josh (Shane Harper) who signs up for a Philosophy class taught by Professor Radisson (Sorbo). On the first day of class Radisson, an atheist, asks the class to sign a statement that "God is dead" so they can skip over that philosophical argument. It must be unanimous by all class members. Josh refuses to sign the statement so Radisson tells him he can have twenty minutes or so in each class session in order to sway the class members to his side. Then there will be a vote by the class as to which side is right.
The challenge is taken though Josh's parents and his girlfriend (Cassidy Gifford) ask him to just let it go. He researches his belief and does a magnificent job of going head to heads with the professor. Of course this stunning ability to debate such a complex issue strains credibility, but in this movie anything is possible.
There are side issues in this movie involving a young woman facing cancer, another woman trying to convince her atheist boyfriend to accept her Christian beliefs, a third woman going against her parents in order to pronounce her faith. There are a lot of challenges in being a Christian and this movie projects a variety of them.
Sorbo is effective as the atheist professor and Harper is strong as the dedicated Christian student. Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame appears as himself in order to make a statement about his beliefs. There is also a solid performance from Tricia LaFache as the young woman with cancer. The musical group Newsboys appear as themselves at the end of the film to present some uplifting songs.
The movie is rated PG for adult themes.
God's Not Dead is not a movie that will appeal to everyone. It is definitely aimed at Christian believers. Still the dramatic context of the script and the talent of the cast could make it entertaining for anyone. It is a bit overdone in the presentation of its message but not as extreme as it could have been.
I scored God's Not Dead a living 6 out of 10.
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