Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick are known for movies that convict the heart, tug at emotions and point viewers toward a major biblical truth.
“Courageous” (2011) urged fathers to take their roles more seriously. “War Room” (2015) encouraged Christians to take prayer more seriously. “Overcomer” (2019) reminded believers of their identity found only in Christ. And “Fireproof” (2008) helped strengthen countless marriages.
The Kendricks will release their latest film, “Lifemark,” Sept. 9. The good news? It has the same emotional punch and gospel-centric truth of those earlier hits.
Inspired by true events, “Lifemark” tells the story of David, an 18-year-old high school student who is enjoying a carefree life when he learns his birth mother wants to contact him.
Birth mother’s role
Thankfully, David’s adoptive parents, played by Kirk Cameron and Rebecca Rogers Nelson, have prepared him for this moment by openly discussing his birth history and championing the birth mother’s heroic role in his life. Still, it’s a lot to process.
“I don’t even know her,” David says pensively, unsure what to do.
“There’s no rush,” his father responds.
As we follow the emotion-laden plot, we also learn more about David and his family’s past. He’s a high school wrestler. He’s also a talented public speaker, and we see that on display as he gives a speech in front of a large audience about his adoption. As he’s speaking we watch his birth mom — hundreds of miles away — Google information about him, thrilled to learn about the young man he has become. It’s one of the movie’s best moments.
Eventually David becomes friends with her on social media. After a few exchanges, he decides to meet Melissa (Dawn Long) face to face. He’s excited, but nervous, about the in-person visit.
Asked what he may say to Melissa, he thinks for a moment and answers solemnly, “Thank you.”
“Lifemark” is an inspiring pro-adoption movie that perfectly captures all the emotions of the adoption process, making you empathetic for both sides as you cheer for David’s success in life.
Via flashbacks we learn why David’s birthparents placed him up for adoption. We also watch them sort through dozens of paper bios before landing on the mom and dad that became his adoptive parents. During one emotional scene, we watch a young Melissa place an out-of-the-blue phone call to the future adoptive mom, asking her how she baits her fishing hook.
Of course multiple scenes bring tears to your eyes.
Comic relief character
The filmmakers smartly use humor to cut the emotional tension thanks to David’s goofball friend, Nate, who is filming a documentary about David’s life and wants him to display more on-screen joy (“You have the emotion of a rock!”).
The film’s lead actor, Raphael Ruggero, is stellar.
It is the first Kendrick Brothers film not directed by Alex (who is an executive producer). That task went to Kevin Peeples, who previously directed “Like Arrows.”
The movie’s first hour is as gripping as any Kendrick Brothers film.
“Lifemark” is a faith-based movie that promotes adoption, affirms biblical truth and leaves you wanting to get more involved in the adoption movement.
It’s a film every church can embrace. For more information, visit lifemarkmovie.com.
More to check out
- Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (Pureflix) — A father comes to grips with his now-grown daughter getting married and moving to Mexico, based on the book by Meg Meeker.
- Love + Local (Pureflix) — Two morning DJs of a popular Christian radio station cope with change under a new producer. It’s a mockumentary series starring Dave Coulier and Emily Pendergast.
Both titles are hilarious, solid additions to the lineup of Pureflix, a faith-based service that has grown since being sold to Sony in 2020.
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