Go see ‘Courageous’

Go see “Courageous.” It’s the latest film from Sherwood Pictures (Fireproof) and their finest yet, in my nonprofessional opinion. The writing is excellent. The action is intense. The portrayal of family life is real. I was laughing out loud one minute and trying not to weep loudly and disturb those around me the next. There are no big name actors in this movie, but I did not have one “embarrassed chill,” as my kids would say, as I watched the relative amateurs at work on the screen. I especially liked Robert Amaya as Javier, a Hispanic father trying to provide for his family. Bounced from one job to another, with his family at risk of losing their home, Javier refuses to compromise his values to keep his position. Amaya plays his part to perfection, and his comic timing is impeccable. In between jobs, Javier is hired by Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick), a sheriff’s deputy, to help him build a shed. A hilarious exchange between the two men occurs when Adam thinks Javier may be an imposter. Another scene finds Javier riding in the back of Adam’s patrol car when they get called to an arrest. Adam can’t leave his friend Javier on the side of the road, but he is required to take a dangerous gang member to the jail. So, Adam tells the gang member that the man already in the back of his squad car is a member of a notorious gang and “you just might survive the ride to jail if you don’t provoke this man!” The scene that follows is a classic. Javier and Adam become fast friends and, along with two other deputies, the men form an accountability group to help each other be faithful fathers.
The movie is not short on action scenes, either. It opens with a car chase that will elevate your blood pressure, especially since it involves a man on foot chasing his own truck that is being stolen by a local thug. He hangs out of the driver’s window and wrestles with the thief as they roar down the country road. You wonder while it is happening why this man is willing to risk his life to save his truck. You’ll see. There is also a shootout between the deputies and three gang members that is well choreographed and acted. The cops would have been outgunned had others not arrived on the scene. When it is over, one deputy remarks to another, “Thank God for backup.”
That’s really one of the primary themes of the film, and one that resonates with me the most. Dads have one of the most important jobs on the planet, and we need backup. We need men who are standing with us, helping us stay faithful, encouraging us not to quit, getting in our faces when we blow it. The consequences of fatherlessness are terrible. Consider these statistics:
“Fatherlessness affects more than 25 million children in America. Emotional fatherlessness affects millions more. Absent fathers are the root cause of children who are oftentimes abused, live in poverty, and suffer psychological distress, which produces: 63 percent of youth suicides, 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children, 85 percent of all children with behavioral problems, and 85 percent of all youth in prisons. Children without a father become the statistics of every negative report and they most often live with a mother burdened by the stress of a lack of support for her children” (Wanda Littles).
These numbers change dramatically when men do their jobs. Go see “Courageous.” It may change your life, and your family.

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