I remember seeing the trailer for THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE and thinking what a great concept and a great cast. It had all the signs of being an above-average Christian film, even with its Christianity so blatant—not a bad thing, necessarily. After the movie came out, I waited eagerly for reviews from moviegoers—Christian moviegoers, at least. But I heard nothing. I literally heard nothing. Surely someone had seen it, I thought. So I asked my Facebook friends, via a status update, for someone, anyone to review GAVIN STONE. I got no reply at all. I read the PluggedIn review, which gave it a fine rating. But I sort of expected that, unless it really, really stunk. Then, a few weeks later, I asked again, "Has anyone seen this film who could offer a review?" Again, no answer. Apparently no one saw it. I assumed Rotten Tomatoes would give it negative reviews, as they are notoriously anti-Christian, regardless the quality of the Christian film, be it described as one and they did. Well, I saw THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE recently, at last. And I was disappointed. Not in the film but that this inspirational comedy didn't get a fair shake. It was a really good movie. The leads were well cast, with Brett Dalton (AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.) in the lead as the title character, a narcissistic, has-been child actor whose life hits the skids due to a moment of indiscretion that results in him having to do 200 hours of community service for a church in Chicago. He begins doing janitorial work. But when he learns that the church is rehearsing for a play about the life of Jesus, Gavin convinces the pastor to let him audition—after lying to him and telling him that he is a believer. He gets the role of Jesus and masquerades as a fellow Christian with frequent hilarity which pokes fun at the Church and those outside the church who would presume to understand it. The bedrock of the film is a message about redemption and the power of Christ to change a seemingly hopeless life. With comedienne Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and veteran actor D.B. Sweeny adding some fine performances, taking nothing from the rest of the cast, this film does indeed rise above the usual Christian fare. The only criticisms I have are that some of the supporting Christian characters were cringe- worthily stereotypical—nearly unforgivable in a Christian film made by Christian—and that the plot was predictable. However, the thrust of message, at the film's climax, although expected, was delivered exceptionally well in a way that made up for any flaws and genuinely touches the heart. Christian movies never get a fair shake from Hollywood, mainstream critics and the liberal elites, the ones people pay attention to. The films MOM'S NIGHT OUT (a very, very funny comedy) and PERSECUTED (an excellent suspense thriller), both released in 2014 were treated with similar derision, and for no good reason. It saddens me that more people, especially Christians, didn't bother to see and support these deserving films that have raised the bar for Christian movies. It saddens me even further that a fine actor like Brett Dalton may never consider lending his talent to another Christian film because of the critical reception of GAVIN STONE. Same with Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and D.B. Sweeny. In closing, may I encourage you, especially Christian believers or those who don't mind a Christian worldview in a film, to, even now, rent these films. They're good films—exceptional in most cases. And let the filmmakers and producers know that you want to see more film like them made that say something good and reflect a more virtuous point of view. Support Christian films—we need them! And don't let critics determine your opinion before you've seen them
or any more to follow.