In 1980, Lee Strobel finds his marriage and professional life turned upside-down when his wife Leslie converts from their shared atheism to Christianity.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 (KJV)
I can remember someone handing me a copy of the book ‘The Case For Christ‘ some years after I got saved back in 1991, and greatly enjoyed reading about all the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ after His death on the cross. My faith did not require evidence per se, but it was really awesome seeing how much it there truly was. Now a new movie based on the 1998 best-seller has come out, so I took my daughter to go see it tonight.
The acting was authentic and well-done, cinematography and soundtrack production values quite high, all in all it was a great movie. But what we were not prepared for was the level of emotion delivered as we watch first Lee’s wife Leslie get saved shortly after a near-fatal incident with their daughter, and then Lee’s struggle to reconcile his atheism with his wife’s new-found faith. Lee sets out to “prove her wrong” and expose Christianity in general and the resurrection in particular as a “cruel hoax” perpetrated on “gullible people”.
What follows is a strongly-acted, emotional roller coaster that takes the viewers along for the ride. We can happily recommend that you go see this movie, and take along some unbelievers with you.
Movie review from HotAir.com:
In 1980, Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) finds his marriage and professional life turned upside-down when his wife Leslie (Erika Christiansen) converts from their shared atheism to Christianity. Convinced that his wife has been brainwashed by a cult — being just a couple of years removed from the Jonestown massacre — Strobel decides to apply his journalistic expertise to debunk the central core of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Can Strobel find an evidence-based argument to refute Christianity, or will he be forced to face his own biases and assumptions?
Do you know Him?
Given that this is explicitly a conversion story (and that Strobel’s book sold 14 million copies over the last two decades), that outcome isn’t exactly a mystery, but the film isn’t intended to be a mystery anyway. At its core, The Case for Christ is a love story on multiple levels rather than an exposition about evidentiary support for the Resurrection. The love Lee and Leslie have for each other becomes redemptive, but so too the terribly strained relationship that Lee has with his father, and that Lee also has with The Father.
What sets this film apart from some others in this genre is the careful manner in which it depicts various characters and their own relation to faith. Lee’s atheistic friend provides him emotional support and comes across quite sympathetically, rather than someone to boo as might have been the case in less subtle hands. The religion editor who challenges Lee to see the truth is as sympathetic but loses his temper in frustration over Lee’s abrasive behavior. Two sources for his evidentiary trail are at the very least agnostic, but portrayed as sympathetically as the Catholic priest who helps Lee start his investigation. The closest the film comes to a bad guy is Lee himself, as he struggles with his wife’s faith as almost a form of infidelity and lashes out at her new friends.
The production values match those of higher-level independent films. The casting of Vogel and Christiansen is especially successful, as they present a very realistic depiction of a young married couple in serious trouble. Faye Dunaway and Frankie Faison have smaller but notable roles, and the ever-estimable Robert Forster portrays Lee’s estranged father. Eight is Enough’s Grant Goodeve has a cameo, but veteran character actor Mike Pniewski’s turn as the Chicago Tribune’s religion editor might be the most memorable outside of the featured cast. The direction and cinematography are straightforward and not at all overdone, with no “shaky cam” usage to generate a false sense of style. The film does an excellent job of recalling the 1980-81 period without making the mistake of falling back into kitsch, opting instead for a look as realistic and nuanced as the film itself.
It all adds up to a compelling and very human story about love, redemption, faith, reason, and finding peace with all of them. With the emergence of Risen and The Case for Christ, the faith-based segment of the film market has come into its own. source
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