Film critics sometimes face daunting challenges—especially when their responsibility to assess a film's strengths, weaknesses, and artistic integrity ends up offending moviegoers who were inspired by a particular movie.
Such was the case recently for Christian film critics who saw Facing the Giants. Several factors contributed to this:
1) The film had already been in the national news when the MPAA gave Giants a PG rating instead of a G. Initial reports claimed that the MPAA cited the film's proselytizing as the reason, but the MPAA soon said it was for other "thematic" reasons.
2) Giants is one of those rare films in which Christian faith is presented as a positive thing—a rare treat for Christians who get tired of seeing themselves portrayed as buffoons or villains.
3) The journey of making Giants—by a Baptist church in Georgia—is an inspiring tale. Giants was funded by Christians, put together by volunteers, and looks impressive considering its low budget.
4) Giants follows in a long line of sports-related films that inspire audiences with a David-and-Goliath story; audiences love a tale of underdogs who overcome the odds.
Thus, any critic who, in assessing its technical and artistic excellence, dares to point out Giants' weaknesses along with its strengths is bound to upset people who think that Christian content alone is sufficient to make it a good movie.
But the critic's job is not to judge the film based on whether or not the audience will cheer. Nor should he base his assessment on whether or not the film preaches a Christian message. The critic is responsible to consider how the film is made, and assess whether it is sloppy, mediocre, adequate, admirable, or—and this doesn't happen very ...1
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