The U.S. is swiftly becoming a society without fathers. In approximately the quarter century from the time my parents married to the time I married, the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers more than doubled—and the situation is worsening, with devastating consequences. Children raised without involved dads are far more likely to live in poverty; to suffer illness or death; to be involved in delinquency, crime, substance abuse, and imprisonment; to do poorly in school or drop out; and to perpetuate the cycle of fatherlessness with all its consequences.
All kinds of sociological factors contribute to the decline in fatherhood, but the makers of Courageous aren't interested in blaming society. They want to address a clarion call to fathers—to husbands, to men—to buck the trend, to make a heroic commitment, in the teeth of an apathetic or hostile society, to do what is right, loving, and honorable by their children and their children's mothers.
Coming on the heels of Fireproof, Courageous is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, and it's another step forward for the church-based film company. Director Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen Kendrick, both pastors at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, have co-written and produced all of Sherwood's films. With each outing, the brothers not only enjoy a bigger budget and better production values, but become more adept in their handling of characters, relationships, and the difficult theme underlying all their films: conversion. While the film's church-based roots and the tendency toward didactic, schematic storytelling are still in evidence, Courageous is their most ambitious and watchable film to date.
Right from the start ...