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New Hope
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
Minister Alex Evans (denomination unidentified, but obviously mainline, fairly conservative Protestant) and his family move from Colorado to a small southern town that is still reeling from the suicide of high school basketball star Chase Green the year before. Michael, the minister's son, takes Chase's place on the team, begins a relationship with Chase's decidedly non-Christian girlfriend, Jasmine, and is antagonized by Chase's angry, grief-stricken, star center brother, Lucas.

NEW HOPE is, of course, from R-Squared Productions, a Christian film company, so there is little or no sex, gore, violence, profanity, etc. Not rated, but would almost certainly be a "PG": Tame stuff, but not completely Hallmark in all respects--it does show a condom in one scene. This film is certainly open to criticism for being sappy and cornballish in many spots, but it's not-so in many others. NEW HOPE honestly, originally, and often quite humorously addresses many pertinent issues: e.g., the well-behaved but still somewhat ambivalent Michael's observation, "It's not Christianity that's flawed: It's Christians."

Though slow-moving, NEW HOPE's storyline is taut and focused, and there is some real tension here along with genuine elements of surprise in a number of places. Still, the transformations that take place toward the end are both predictable and unbelievable.

Some good acting and dialogue, as well as some that's quite lame. Interestingly enough, the teenagers' script is more realistic than the adults': I've seen better depictions of adolescent life, but I've also seen much worse. The interactions between Jasmine and Michael are particularly engaging and poignant. Also worthy of mention is Michael's little sister, Faith, about 10 and always being told to go get ready for bed: "Mom, don't take this the wrong way, but have you HEARD how boring you and Dad are?!"

Unfortunately (since he's so central), NEW HOPE's most wooden character is the minister himself. It is, of course, hard to characterize a Fundamentalist preacher who, regardless of whether or not we all subscribe to his theology, is a decent fellow and neither a thundering lunatic nor a closet pervert; thus, many of Evans's lines are the usual "We ALL have our struggles," blah-blah-blah. Nevertheless, he does have his realer moments: "Hey, I'm a preacher! This 'God' stuff is all I know."

Though many will find the patriarchal, mostly white, Middle American culture alienating, it's noteworthy that the moms in this film are far more convincing than the dads. Chase's grieving mother, finely played by Dodie Brown, is probably the most fully-realized character here.

NEW HOPE's mood and atmosphere remind me of the "After-School Specials" I used to watch as a boy back in the '70s and '80s. {That may sound insulting, but it's not so-intended}. Daryl Wolgemuth's fine soundtrack really enhances this production. Yes, a lot of it's "Christian rock," but it's some of the best that I've heard, and the use of subtle instrumentals is just fantastic. The general cinematography and use of scenery are also quite good.

This production will obviously resonate with many Christian audiences, and non-Christians with some tolerance for basic, unpoliticized Christian views should not find it too preachy or dogmatic. It's full of "lessons" about God and life, most of which are given via Pastor Evans, and there is an obvious intent to evangelize to the audience, but again, it's not too "in-yer-face" in these respects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2013
Great movie to watch with my teenage daughter! It showed teeenagers making good choices that are hard to make. That is rare in movies today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
New Hope is another successful Christian movie from R2 it can be a little slow at times and some of the acting is a little wooden but once again they introduce Ben Davies who is a young actor sent to go far, it is ideal for teens and family viewing alike and gives good moral pointers.But the real & New star is Samuel Davis Wow what a talented young actor who comes over so as so natural with genuine acting skills, he is one name we are going to see a lot more of in 2013, in fact he has a new movie out on DVD on the 22 January 2013 "Abel's Field"

Not an outstanding movie that is the reason for the rating of four but one worth buying!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
This was a superb movie. The characters and acting were outstanding. It was refreshing to watch a movie with a solid message and no foul language, suggestive scenes, etc. I thought Ben Davies did a phenomenal portrayal of Lucas Green. His acting talent is definitely God given. What an asset to this movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is an average film at best. Acting is wooden and stiff in many scenes, the music is mundane and many of the scenes are unconvincing. I think a 3 star would be generous for this film, The redeeming quality in my mind is the look into the mind and heart of a pastor's kid. Very nice component of this movie. Still I had to ask my wife to keep watching and she did, but I only did that because it is a faith based film and we are believers. Still we were disappointed by the production quality overall.

This movie carries a message for believers to trust in God when you don't like the life you have. I don't agree with the reviewer who said it had no gospel in it...it has a strong faith message that shows how young people can make hard choices for God when life is not smooth. There are a lot of great quotes and moments, and because of those I give this a 3 star.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
I WOULD THINK IT WILL BE A HELPFUL & ENCOURAGING VIDEO FOR CHURCH YOUTH AND THEIR LEADERS TO WATCH EVEN IF THERE IS NO SUICIDE INVOLVED.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I really wanted to like this one, but the unrealistic portrayal of high school basketball was too much for me to overcome. I had to force myself to watch to the end. The acting for the most part was good by the principals, but there were some less than stellar performances by others. Ben Davies was almost enough to hold this movie together by himself--but not quite. The main problem I had was watching a basketball team with only eight players coached by a man who talked more like a cheerleader than a coach. If they had been a poor team, I'd have been comfortable with it, but watching them work their way through to the state championship was more than I could suspend my disbelief. A four-on-four practice scrimmage is not going to prepare a team to win the state championship. In real life, teams would bring up sophomores and maybe freshmen to pad their roster so they'd have enough players for a full scrimmage and a bench. To make things worse, they hosted all of the tournament games in their small home gym, including the state championship. Tournaments are held in large neutral gyms, not in crackerbox local high school gyms. I realize that they saved a lot on expenses by shooting in on location, but I think it was a big mistake. And lastly, the new kid in town, who was billed to be some kind of a hotshot, was a lame basketball player. I think I had more serious basketball skills at fifty-five years of age than his character portrayed. A pretty good Christian message was somewhat lost by ignoring some small details which anyone associated with basketball could have helped avoid. Here is the perfect example of where a movie producer should have gotten input from others before shooting to avoid story issues. People can stomach a sermon if it's delivered via a good story. I'm afraid this one was not palatable for me.
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on March 31, 2014
This movie was a surprise to me! I bought it because Samuel Davis and Ben Davies were in it from Abel's Field (excellent) and Courageous (excellent) but didn't think it would be as good as it was because of the low price. I was so wrong on that! Ben Davies did a really good job of portraying the angry brother! Samuel Davis was excellent also in his role! I lent it out to a couple of people and they loved it also! Good buy!
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on March 18, 2014
I saw this movie last night, and it was a good film.

The lead character Michael is new to this high school in his sr year. He has a tough time with a member of the basketball team.

It takes the love of Jesus for him to overcome peer pressure and humiliation.
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on February 20, 2014
This is a great movie for all to watch. Great for young adults. Awesome and would recommend to give away as a gift.
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