Review: The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a familiar story in many ways. The basic plot is that Gavin, a former child actor who self-imploded after his parent’s messy divorce, is assigned community service at a church to make up for one of his wild escapades. Gavin sees that the church is putting on an Easter play and “charms” his way into doing his community service, working on the play, rather than mopping up the church. Of course, hilarity and drama ensue.

A Little Background

Gavin Stone opened this past Friday January 20 on 887 theaters. For a Christian movie that’s a pretty wide release although not as big as recent films such as War Room (1135) and Miracles from Heaven (3047.) However, it’s no small feat to get a “faith” movie released this wide. The movie is directed by Dallas Jenkins who has directed several award winning short and feature length films. The film was also done in partnership with WWE Studios and features one of their superstars, Shawn Michaels. The movie stars Brett Dalton and Anjelah Johnson.

The Story, What It Gets Right

As I said, the story is familiar in many ways, but that’s not a bad thing. A movie doesn’t have to break new ground to be good, it must get the basics down and Gavin Stone does and does it better than many so called faith based films. It really gets it better than most films in general, but the critics will not want to acknowledge that.

The movie laughs at itself as any comedy should, but it also takes ideas and phrases that are common to church going people and uses them to lightheartedly poke fun of ourselves. This is done well because the director is obviously someone from this community and not an outsider who doesn’t get it. At the same time the movie is not focused as a sermon tool, that forgets it’s there to entertain an audience.

The story is funny, smooth and relatable. The characters are real, interesting and engaging. The film is well done in every respect and it leaves little to disappointment unless you’re looking to be disappointed.

Who It’s For

Having briefly seen a few other reviews, the gist seems to be that if you like this kind of movie you will like this movie and if you don’t, you won’t. There is something to this logic, but it’s not all true. I think it’s fair to say this is a Christian movie, and I mean that in all the best ways. It’s more than just a faith film, but it’s not preachy. People who have an axe to grind with Christianity, aren’t going to like this movie because they won’t want to. Audiences who are looking to have a good time at the movies, can and will enjoy this, regardless of their faith.

Gavin Stone is a fun and entertaining movie. It shares the good news without making the movie into a sermon.  There’s almost nothing objectionable in terms of content for families. The only thing that I would mention is that it loads it’s jokes more in the first half, as it delves into a little more drama in the second.  I took my eleven-year-old son to see the movie and he laughed throughout and said he really enjoyed it because it was relatable.  He talked about it so much his younger brother was very disappointed that he didn’t go too. I don’t think you can ask for a better endorsement than that.

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