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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

John Paul George would never ring you up in the middle of the night just for fun. He's much too nice and considerate for that. Just ask his fiancée, Cynthia. She'll tell you that her man is an average, reasonably good-looking, uncomplicated guy who she figures will be loyal and stable and wonderful all the way through to their elderly end.

Or at least she would have said that before he hops on a plane and heads down to Louisiana on a harebrained mission to …

Allow me to back up a bit. John Paul's mom has just passed away. And while he's cleaning out her overstuffed garage, he finds a box of keepsakes related to his dad. Now, Dad died in the Vietnam War when John was just a kid. And he knows pretty much exactly nothing about the man since Mom rarely spoke of him. So this box brings up a slew of questions and feelings that John never knew he had.

Blame Cynthia herself for what happens next, 'cause she's the one who pushes John to follow up on some of the stuff found in that dusty old box. What if, for instance, he tried to reach out to this guy named Eddie, whose letter was tucked away there? It sounds like he and John's dad, Stephen, were really quite good friends, Cynthia points out.

Now the future Mrs. George probably thinks a phone call or two is as far as this thing'll go. But the steady, predictable John Paul George suddenly surprises even himself when he, after a cryptic phone call, hops on a plane and flies down south to meet this guy.

Well, Eddie turns out to be Wayne Eddie, his dad's friend's son. And Wayne is just about the most unpleasant, growling, uncooperative individual you'd ever not like to meet. But he does have one thing going for him: He has a stack of letters sent home from the war all those years ago that promise to shed a great deal of light on who Stephen George was.

And he'll sell them to John Paul for the low, low price of $500 each.

If, that is, John Paul will visit The Wall with him—the Vietnam Veteran's War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Wait 'til Cynthia hears that Mr. Uncomplicated and Mr. Unpleasant are going on a very long, very uncomfortable, but hopefully very revealing road trip together!

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Positive Elements

Faith of Our Fathers tips its hat to the sacrifices, both great and small, made by soldiers as they serve their country. And by jumping back and forth between John Paul and Wayne's story (set in 1997), and Stephen and Eddie's story (in 1969), we see that the movie is not only about fathers and sons, but also about the forging of unlikely friendships. Both pairs of men come to care for and help each other as they experience hard (and harder) times. They all grow as men and mature in their understanding of God's hand in their lives. (More on that in the next section.)

Cynthia's naturally pretty upset with the crazy turn of events, just days before the wedding. (She is determined to get that ring from John Paul George.) But she eventually turns her attitude around when she realizes just how important his search for information about his dad is to him.

Spiritual Content

We soon learn that Stephen was a man of strong faith. In the midst of warring struggles he prays repeatedly, reads God's Word and quotes Scriptures in an effort to hearten the men around him. Sergeant Mansfield, the squad's leader, isn't always so pleased with that choice—complaining that Stephen is "preparing his men to die"—but we find that even he is eventually impacted and significantly shaped by Stephen's dedication to the Gospel.

On the battlefield, Stephen guides Eddie to an understanding of faith as well, helping him see that Jesus can heal emotional hurts and forgive past wrongs as He offers us an eternity with Him. Eddie eventually calls out for that healing and forgiveness. Within the context of the war, we hear John 15:13 being quoted ("Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends").

Nearly 30 years later, Mansfield, in turn, speaks spiritual truth into the lives of John Paul and Wayne. And John Paul talks of God's healing grace, paraphrasing John 1:9, "If you confess your sin, Jesus is faithful to cleanse you of all your sin." The recipient of those words, Wayne finally breaks down and confesses all the painful emotions he's kept bottled up through the years.

Sexual Content

None.

Violent Content

In Vietnam, men are shot and killed in several firefights. (We see some blood, as well as entry wounds from bullets.) A huge explosion rips apart a downed aircraft, incinerating the men inside. Troops spot bloodstains on the side of a tree and a bloody trail leading into a wooded area.

When John Paul first meets Wayne, the dude shoots at the ground near him, "encouraging" him to leave. Wayne and John Paul get into a fight with several guys at a gas station: They're thumped and punched in the face, resulting in bloody noses and lips.

Crude or Profane Language

A bit of demeaning name-calling is tossed around from time to time, including "big dumb hillbilly," "moron" and "butt." A Christian is scoffed at and called a "preacher boy" and a "Jesus Freak."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wayne tells of his mother getting killed by a drunk driver.

Other Negative Elements

When desperate for money to get home, Wayne attempts to rob a convenience store with a toy gun. (A police officer then downplays the situation, letting Wayne go without arresting him.) Thieves steal Wayne's car. A young girl then sells the guys an abandoned car. Wayne drives recklessly.

Conclusion

Faith of our Fathers is a sometimes sobering, sometimes goofy, sometimes incoherent road-trip movie. It also mirrors the spiritual journey John Paul and Wayne’s fathers took before them. The two sets of choices and interactions are separated by several continents and three decades, and the sons don't have to take cover from exploding bombs and whizzing bullets, but both pairs suffer through relational struggles and emotional shrapnel.

The dads and sons at first fight against someone they don't initially like. (And we're not always sure we like these people we're watching, either.) But in that fight they finally find an unexpected brother. With that newfound friend they wrestle to understand the grief, loss and questions of life. And, ultimately, both generations feel compelled to reach for faith, surrender their lives and put hope in God's promises.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Kevin Downes as John Paul George; David A.R. White as Wayne Adams; Stephen Baldwin as Sgt. Mansfield; Sean McGowan as Stephen George; Scott Whyte as Eddie Adams; Candace Cameron Bure as Cynthia; Rebecca St. James as Annie; Si Robertson as Himself

Director

Carey Scott ( )

Distributor

Samuel Goldwin Films

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

July 1, 2015

On Video

October 13, 2015

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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