For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36 NKJV)

Regular readers will probably know that I have a policy of including a passage of scripture – relevant to the film that I am reviewing – in all of my film reviews.  The observant among them might just be thinking, (right about now) “Hm. That’s unusual.  He doesn’t usually start with a passage of scripture.  That usually comes later.”  And they would be right.

But such is the subject matter of this film (which comes from Pureflix, Provident Films and Erwin Brothers Entertainment), and such is the weight on my heart right now that I just had to follow how I feel led and to start with that passage of scripture.

Especially since -within the story lines of this film Christianity is treated by some – and interestingly especially by those in authority- as a threat and especially since you only have to look around at what is happening in the world today, to see how the bible, Christianity and Christian morals are treated by some – and interestingly especially by those in authority- (see the important and tragic similarity here) as a threat and with suspicion and fear.

 

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Woodlawn is a true story set in the early 1970’s in Alabama, USA amidst the racial tension and segregations that were so deeply impacting both the region and the country at that time.

Now let me mention right from the start of this review (well almost the start) that I am not American and In fact I fully believe that unless you are American (and I would almost go as far as to suggest an American of over a certain age) you would possibly struggle to fully understand how deeply devastating and disturbing these times were. Times which this writer fully believes are still  not fully behind us and which lay as a spectre all too ready to raise its ugly head once more – But that perhaps a subject is for another post on another blog.

But in a world where prejudice and racism and indeed prejudice against some convictions of faith is tragically still very much present this film is such a blessing and carries a central message (and indeed other messages) which we would ALL do very well to listen to.

Woodlawn4To say that this film focuses on the highschool years of one Tony Curtis Nathan ( excellently played by Caleb Castille – featured in the image above and who is himself a relative newcomer in terms of actors but certainly one to look out for in  the future in my opinion – would not be inaccurate.  And yet this film is so much more.

woodlawn3If you are an American football fan – especially college football – you are in for a treat and yet you don’t have to be a fan of American Football in order to be blessed, intrigued, sometimes gripped, and often inspired and challenged by this film, in my opinion.

But whist on the subject of being an American Football fan it is I think worth mentioning that if all Christians would only have but half of the passion that fans of American Football often feel for the sport or their team we would truly be a force to be reckoned with.

And that is perhaps the main story line of this film.  Passion not only in the game but in a higher power and how that passion and that faith and belief – for they should be inseparable for the believer.

woodlawn6Notable performances within this film come from a number of different sources.  Nic Bishop (also known for the TV series Body of Proof) who plays coach Tandy Gerelds being one of them.

He plays the role extremely  well and makes the character easy to relate to. Which -being as he is a central character in this film – is extremely important.

woodlawn5Another notable performance is put in by Sean Astin (also known for a growing number of Christian films and also, of course, the Lord of the Rings films.)  In this film his character by no means gets the most screen-time, but is central to the whole story and his ability to be both believable and convincing and compelling in the role is as essential and as much a blessing as is his character’s ability to be believable and convincing and compelling.

And also look out for the performances of John Voight as Coach Bryant, Joy Brunson as Johnnie, Sherri Shepherd as Momma Nathan, and young Jet Jurgensmeyer as Todd Gerelds

woodlawn7For the believer we are taught in the word and we believe that God is a ‘0n time’ God.  Well this is – without doubt – an ‘on time’ film.

And one which, I believe, would be a truly enjoyable and inspiring watch not just for the believer but also for the non-believer too.

And I am also of the opinion that it would be a wonderful film – one which, along with it’s messages, challenges and story lines, would do well to be discussed after viewing – for a youth group.

And so I would have absolutely no reservation in recommending this film to you and I invite you – on watching this film – to truly consider what it is saying to you personally.

As one tag line for this film puts it, there is – “One Truth, One Hope, One Way.” Or as the Bible puts it…

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. “” (John 14:6 NKJV).

As you will see from the trailer below one clear and undeniable statement made in this film and through the true story behind this film, “This is what happens when God shows up.” So I invite you now.  Watch this film, consider it’s truth and its message and then put it to the test!  See what happens in your life when you truly recognise that God has already shown up!

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Title:            Woodlawn
Written By:   Jon Erwin, Quniton Peeples

Directed By: Andrew Irwin, Jon Erwin

Starring:       Caleb Castille, Sean Astin, John Voight,

Genre: Christian, Drama, Sport

Runtime: 123 mins

Age Rating: PG

Release Date:  16th October 2015 (USA)

Violence: Limited, but intrinsic to the storyline. 

Controversial Language: Sparse to none

Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None

Potentially Disturbing Scenes: Yes, but intrinsic to the storyline. 

For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 9/10 †††††††††

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