I live across the street from a multiplex cinema. That means I see very few movies.
I know that doesn’t make sense. The easy access should mean I would see more movies. My intentions are good, but something always comes up and the film I want to see is long gone by the time I am ready to go to the cinema. I have to wait for Netflix or the DVD.
I told my colleague my wife and I would join her when she went to see the film, but we never could find a time that worked. I think she may also have had second thoughts about a film that from its title seems blatantly Christian. So when I was offered the opportunity to screen the move before its DVD release this week I jumped at it.
For those unfamiliar with it, here are the bare bones of the plot, which is based on the story of Lee Strobel, a journalist with the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Strobel’s life was going pretty good in 1980: married with a child, his wife pregnant again and his first book just having been published. He’s a rational guy, trained as a lawyer, with no need for religious superstition in his life. His wife is in agreement with his atheism.
Then, following a family crisis, his wife Leslie becomes a Christian. Strobel can’t believe it; this is a catastrophic event. He figures the best way to eliminate this irrational craziness from her life is if he can disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He’s a top investigative reporter. How hard can it be to disprove a fantasy?
The film follows his journey of discovery, through medical, psychological and archeological evidence surrounding the resurrection. Weaving through that tale is another story, that of a man jailed, in part, due to Strobel’s reporting, who might have been falsely convicted.
As I said, I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know how true the film is to the original. I do know that The Case For Christ manages to make apologetics entertaining, which is quite a feat when you think of it. People like me thrive on that sort of stuff, but I don’t think it appeals to the average moviegoer. Yet Strobel’s journey could be anyone’s. (Indeed I was struck by parallels with a friend of mine whose wife became a Christian., which looked like it might be cause for divorce. Then, after looking more closely at what was going on, he became a Christian himself. Shortly after that they both became missionaries.)
The movie has an authentic early 1980s vibe to it – it felt right for the place and time. All the characters seemed believable, a tribute to the writing and acting skills of those involved. The dialogue felt authentic, and there was just enough humour to leaven a sometimes heavy topic. I must admit, I only recognized the name of one cast member, Oscar winner Faye Dunaway, but that may have more to do with my movie-going habits than the calibre of the cast.
As a former newspaper reporter myself, the movie was at times a pleasant trip down memory lane. But you don’t need to be a journalist to be entertained by this story. For Lee Strobel it was a life-changing challenge. It could be for you too.
If you missed it in theatres, don’t miss it on DVD. If you saw it in theatres, you’ll probably want to see it again.
“Movie has been provided courtesy of Mongrel Media and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”