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From the creators of Fireproof and Courageous comes War Room, a compelling drama with humor and heart that became one of the best movie in US theaters and received raving reviews from audiences of all ages.
Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Their world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a 'war room' and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends with his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.
From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageous comes War Room, a compelling drama with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all – great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.
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The movie is really emotionally powerful, and besides their filmmaking technique, I think it is also because of their ability to create characters who feel so much like us. The fact that the Kendricks have years of pastoral experience means they can create fictional characters with a greater depth than is often seen in faith-based movies. This is an essential element in War Room because the whole movie is about breaking the spiritual barriers within one family’s marriage, and because they feel so real, their faith journey also feels real. War Room has a different kind of journey than Fireproof. After Kirk Cameron’s character becomes a Christian in Fireproof, the marital issues seem like they’ll be solved, except for when he later sees the paper with his wife’s request for a divorce. In War Room, there’s a different kind of faith journey, one which is far more common than having a conversion experience. Here it is a middle-class African American family (husband, wife, 9-or-10-year-old daughter, both parents working good-paying jobs) which is already Christian to a degree, and attends church sometimes, but is growing dysfunctional because of too much emphasis on separate careers. It is high time for Christians to see a movie such as this, and take note of how overcommitting oneself ruins relationships. I see that as a big problem among Christians I know: too much involvement in activities and not enough personal and family time. It truly is the basis of a lot of ruined relationships, and it’s great that War Room exposes the problem. It also is neat to me that the family is portrayed as a Christian family, which attends church sometimes but has lost its purpose and focus because of material pursuits. If someone saw Fireproof and was less influenced because of how it manipulated the story through a conversion scene, War Room will hopefully bless those people—those who already consider themselves “people of faith” but still can’t break relational barriers. If there’s one verse that characterizes this movie, it’s Proverbs 16:8: “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.”
An older black woman with a lot of spunk and a direct form of communication starts to mentor the main character (the African American woman whose husband is becoming more hostile to her) and teaches her the importance of prayer. I like it that when prayer does help her marital situation, the movie never implies that prayer will fix everything. It has a very balanced approach to prayer, which includes the recognition that it won’t necessarily change another person, but will give the one who sincerely prays an emotional freedom from that level of burden. I really am impressed with how well this movie teaches people to refocus their hearts on God, without it feeling like a “lesson”. It’s a lesson in the form of a captivating story, and it’s really skillfully done. I would find it difficult to verbalize everything about the movie’s style which helps this to work so well, but I think the passion of the Kendricks just makes it all feel like it fits together. It is edited together really skillfully, and the pacing and acting are so real, and it’s a very worthwhile movie to watch. I hope it will greatly bless people and help them heal from issues like the pornography epidemic, which the Ashley Madison website leak/hacking has recently exposed as affecting all but 3 counties in the entire country (and even those 3 counties probably are not exempt). God orchestrated this movie to come out at such a time as this, so that people will be able to regain trust in each other through finding inspiration in God.
There were several more things that resonated with me about the movie:
1. I really like the music, in that it expands past the typical brooding style of other movies about broken relationships. It has energy and effective use of the violin, and it is nice that it doesn’t rely entirely on long minor chords with the strings and piano.
2. It explores the idea of restitution a little bit. Restitution means you make amends when you cause someone loss. I’ve often thought about whether restitution is imperative or something which the individual conscience should decide, leaning more towards letting the individual decide. For example, if I committed a secret sin that affected someone, but they didn’t know it affected them (similar to the stealing that goes on in this movie), and I changed and confessed my sins to God, I don’t know what I would do: move on, or revisit the past and open myself up to more negative consequences, and sometimes weaken relationships? Wisdom involves knowing when to keep one’s mouth shut, when to let matters of the past be “water under the bridge”. Proverbs 17:9 says it’s sometimes wiser just to move on instead of telling every sin of the past, if it’s not divisive to the relationship: “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” I think it is unwise to make an absolute code of how and when to make restitution. In this story, part of the journey of repentance of Tony (the husband) involves making restitution. At least it was done in the context of him feeling burdened, rather than being told that God demanded it of him.
3. In one scene where Elizabeth (the wife) believes the Devil is in her midst, Alex Kendrick (director) uses an interesting horror-movie style as the camera circles around the room looking for some enemy in the dark. If you see the movie, pay attention to the music and camerawork at that section.
4. If you saw the trailer and thought, like I did, that it seemed like an in-your-face “In Jesus’ name” sermon, it’s not. I know that if I was not religious, and I saw that trailer, I would not want to see the movie, but it is not a “preachy” movie at all, but really authentic, down-to-earth, and excellently performed. It reminds me a little of how Steven Spielberg toned down his energetic and fluid camera style for his Lincoln movie, making it much more about the relationships in confined environments. I really appreciate how the Kendricks let the story dictate the filmmaking style in War Room, and that they did not make it feel like a sermon, even though it functions like a sermon.
5. The humorous touches, if you’ve seen their previous movies, are kind of fun, because they’re slightly goofy, often involve a character who’s a little embarrassed, but almost always come at authentic moments.
War Room is a movie that stars Priscilla Shirer (author of a number of books including Awaken: 90 Days with the God who Speaks). Elizabeth (Shirer) and her husband Tony have what appears to be a wonderful life to anyone who looks at them. They both have great jobs, a large, beautiful house, and an adorable daughter. Behind closed doors, they snap at each other and hardly spend any quality time together. Elizabeth is a real estate agent and meets with an elderly woman, Miss Clara, to help sell her house. Miss Clara is very spiritual and can sense that a lot is wrong in Elizabeth's life. She persuades Elizabeth to meet her at her house and she shows her her "war room" and the power of prayer. What starts out as solely a job will end up transforming the lives for everyone involved.
I've watched some movies that I have no interest in seeing again but this is one I want to watch many times which is why I bought my own copy! I loved it so much and cried through most of it, some happy tears and some sad tears. It's so powerful and touched me immensely. I even learned from it. I very highly recommend this movie if you enjoy Christian dramas and I am interested in other movies directed by Alex Kendrick plus I now have a stack of Priscilla Shirer books to read!