Powerful romantic film ‘I Still Believe’ leads March family-friendly lineup

By Michael Foust
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

A new faith-based film by the Erwin Brothers, “I Still Believe” (PG), hits theaters March 13, telling the inspiring and emotion-laden romantic story of Jeremy Camp’s marriage to his first wife, Melissa. The two fell in love in college and then married, although Melissa soon was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer that later claimed her life.

Melissa, though dying, grew in her faith until the very end. And Camp, though grieving, never left her side.

After her death, Camp penned the popular song, “I Still Believe.”

The film has drawn comparisons to “I Can Only Imagine,” the 2018 Erwin Brothers’ movie that opened at No. 3, earned a rare A+ CinemaScore rating from moviegoers and grossed more than $83 million — the highest-grossing film ever released by the Erwin Brothers.

The stories are very different. “I Can Only Imagine” spotlighted the relationship between an estranged father and son. “I Still Believe” is a romance — and one of the best ones in that genre you’ll ever watch.

It stars K.J. Apa as Camp and Britt Robertson as Melissa Henning and promotes themes often missing from modern-day romances: self-sacrifice, chastity and till-death-do-us-part commitment.

Definition of love

After all, it’s a romantic movie that promotes the biblical definition of love.

“That’s the thing I’m the most excited about,” co-director Andrew Erwin said. “It’s a love story that is so palpable and just real, and kids are mesmerized by it. Instead of it being a feelings-based, how-do-you-make-me-feel love, it’s a commitment to walk through the fire together.”

It’s a squeaky-clean romance with no language or sexuality, and it just might be better than “I Can Only Imagine.”

No spoilers here, but I can say this: “I Still Believe” is a powerful movie that every teenager and young adult in America needs to see. It also contains a gospel-centric message that every church can support.

Gary Sinise and Shania Twain play Camp’s parents.

Also worth watching this month:

  • “I Am Patrick” (theaters) — It’s a feature-length docudrama about one of the most famous missionaries in the history of Christianity. Patrick risked his life to take the gospel to Ireland, and his ministry bore gospel fruit that can still be seen today. The film separates fact from fiction and weaves a riveting, inspiring story. It will be in theaters two nights only: March 17–18.
  • “Heavenquest: A Pilgrim’s Progress” (home video) — It’s a film that tells the “backstory” to John Bunyan’s famous novel. No, Bunyan didn’t write “Heavenquest,” but its story and allegory make it a worthy companion. “Heavenquest” tells how Evangelist — who is a supporting character in Bunyan’s book — became a servant of the one true King. The film is now on home video platforms. Unrated, it contains a few scenes that may not be appropriate for small children.
  • “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (home video) — Lloyd Vogel, a journalist for Esquire, learns to heal and forgive after interviewing Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The film is based on a true story and stars Tom Hanks, who is excellent in his role as Rogers. Rated PG for some strong thematic material, a brief fight and some mild language, though none is spoken by Rogers.
  • “When Calls the Heart” Season 7 (television) — The Hallmark Channel story of Hope Valley continues for another season, as Elizabeth raises Little Jack while juggling two suitors, Nathan and Lucas. Meanwhile, Jesse and Clara plan their wedding. Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” is a drama the whole family can enjoy.