This past Labor Day weekend my bride Terri and I had the opportunity to catch the new Kendricks Brothers movie “War Room”. Being longtime fans of the Kendrick Brothers productions since their early efforts “Flywheel” and “Facing the Giants”, we had looked forward to their newest collaboration.
We chose the AMC Valley View theater in the old Valley View Mall for our venue. After making the hike up the stairs due to the escalator not working, we purchased our tickets, bought our popcorn and drinks, and settled into our seats. The opening previews were littered with upcoming inspirational, faith-based feature films, giving us hope for the next phase of the movie going season, once all the dust settled from the Summer’s big blockbusters. This is encouraging news indicating that the big studios at least recognize that there is a market for faith-based films at the box office, even if they may not all support the message.
Obviously, “War Room” doesn’t fit your Summer bang-bang, blow ’em up, action flick. To the contrary, it promotes a non-man made weapon used by millions of people of faith throughout history–prayer.
The movie doesn’ waste time hitting us in our wheelhouse of excuses for why we spend so little time praying. While we wouldn’t accept someone serving us lukewarm food or coffee, we readily accept prayer lives that are lukewarm at best. And that’s probably being kind. As the movie makes clear, we simply think we’re too busy to pray, yet able to find time to fight our individual battles not utilizing the greatest weapon God gave us.
“War Room” stars Priscilla C. Shirer and T.C. Stallings as Elizabeth and Tony Jordan. Their marriage is on the rocks, to put it mildly. It’s not how they planned it, but it is where they find themselves. Somewhere along the way, they got off the track and got tied up getting busy being busy. Their little daughter, played by the beautiful, young and talented Dallas native Alena Pitts witnesses her parents marriage coming apart at the seams and experiences feeling the frustration and neglect that comes with being a kid stuck in the middle. In real life, Alena is the niece of Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas.
By what can only be described as divine intervention, Elizabeth meets Miss Clara. Miss Clara, a widow, is a devout woman of faith and steadfast prayer warrior. She introduces Elizabeth to her “War Room”–a prayer closet where Miss Clara has prayed faithfully for those she loves for years. As the movie soon reveals, Miss Clara arrives in Elizabeth’s life just in the nick of time. The two women begin to meet regularly and Miss Clara spurs Elizabeth to begin praying for her husband, Tony and for their marriage.
The packed theater issued several “Amens” and “Halleluljahs” throughout the powerful, moving drama depicting the faith journey of the characters. Comedian Michael Jr. does a superb job playing T.C. Stallings’ (Tony) childhood friend, cutting him no slack. Both T.C. Stallings and Priscilla C. Shirer play their respective roles with a welcome authenticity and freshness. We see them both, warts and all–not to mention smelly feet (don’t worry, you’ll appreciate this once you see the movie). We all probably know a Miss Clara, although we may not all have had the fortune of a Miss Clara playing such a pivotal role in our lives. The role is played to the hilt by veteran actress Karen Abercrombie, who hopefully will at least get a nod for Best-Supporting Actress award at the next Oscars.
Terri and I both enjoyed the movie immensely. We found “War Room” to be very uplifting and encouraging while showing the reality of the struggles people of faith deal with while we are living in the world–physically present–while avoiding living of the world–not sharing the values of the world.
The movie, directed by Kendrick brother Alex, who also plays Tony’ boss in the movie, was co-written by Alex and his brother Stephen. Making it’s US release on August 28, 2015, “War Room” topped the Labor Day box office weekend as the #1 movie in America–no small feat for a faith-based, Christian film.
My encouragement to you is to go check it out. I believe you’ll find it to be time well spent.