One of my favorite pieces of movie trivia is the character named “greatest movie hero” of all time by the American Film Institute on its 100th anniversary: Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” played by Gregory Peck.
Well, Mr. Peck, you now have a new competitor for that “greatest hero” title.
Actress Karen Abercrombie as Miss Clara in “War Room,” the new, Christian film – yes, a Christian film! – from the Kendrick brothers (makers of “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants”), is an absolute revelation. Miss Clara is spellbinding, hilarious, heart-breaking, inspiring and more, a character so engaging and delightful to watch I hope the brothers make a sequel to “War Room,” just so I can spend more time being captivated by Miss Clara.
For make no mistake, “War Room” is the best Kendrick brothers movie to date, and that by a wide margin. Touching and funny, convicting and inspiring, it’s a film that will both make your spirit soar and drive you to your knees. And if you’re willing to follow through on its message, it will change your life.
To be fair, as a critic, I have to point out that “War Room” is a movie made by Christians for Christians and really no one else. It isn’t gritty or nuanced and sometimes has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It still places message before story (the cardinal sin of most Christian films), and that makes it somewhat predictable – though the Kendrick brothers are improving in that area.
Unlike some of the brothers’ other films, which at least tried to reach out to the wider audience, “War Room” is a movie that knows it’s preaching to the choir, but that’s actually OK. It doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, but narrows its aim and lands closer to the bull’s-eye because of it. Although it has a scene where the gospel is clearly presented, this is a movie that really addresses Christians and does so masterfully.
“War Room” tells the story of a woman whose marriage and family are falling apart, but an encounter with “Miss Clara” reveals all the woman’s fighting and arguing has been in vain. Miss Clara teachers her to fight in a different way. To fight in prayer. And even more challenging, to call on God to do the fighting for her.
Any Christian who has fallen comfortable or complacent in their prayer life will find “War Room” a gut-wrenching conviction. Any Christian who has found prayer stale or too hard to fit in to a busy life (and that’s probably most of us) will find “War Room” a powerful inspiration toward the kind of prayer that changes things … even if those things are us.
The worldview of “War Room” is simple to summarize, in the words of Miss Clara herself, “Just because you argue a lot doesn’t mean you fight well.”
In fact, you’ve probably been fighting the wrong enemy.
In a nutshell, “War Room” reveals in a life-impacting way exactly what its tagline says, “Prayer is a powerful weapon” – even more powerful than the movie … and that’s really saying something.
“War Room” is an absolute must-see, buy-tickets-for-your-Christians-friends, load-the-church-van, drive-an-hour-to-see kind of movie. Then buy the DVD, if for no other reason, to spend more time laughing and crying with Miss Clara.
- “War Room,” rated PG, contains neither obscenity nor profanity, but it does use a crude term (“getting it”) for sex.
- It has no glamorized violence, but there are several war scenes at the beginning of the film and a dream sequence where two characters engage in physical combat.
- The film does touch on the theme of adultery, uses a couple of slang terms for sex, and contains some minor affections between husband and wife, but no overt sexuality.
- “War Room” makes numerous, positive references to Scripture and the Christian faith.