These films represent what we consider to be the best of what got released in 2014, and not just artistically speaking, but morally and content-wise, too. Our selection isn’t a stamp of approval, of course, so link to our full reviews and read them carefully before deciding to see anything we’ve listed here.
In February we’ll pick our winners. But you can do it right now! To voice your thoughts and vote for your favorite nominee for the Reader’s Choice award in each category, post a comment on this blog or on our Facebook page.
BEST CHRISTIAN MOVIE (NOMINEES)
Moms’ Night Out (PG): Ally’s life is a disaster. Or at least that’s how it feels. It’s not that this young mom isn’t smart, warmhearted and capable. And it’s not that her husband, Sean, isn’t a loving and supportive guy. It’s just that in spite of all that, Ally is afraid her kids are going to quite literally drive her crazy. They’re three typical tykes who can turn a tidied-up room into a disheveled disaster area two-and-a-half seconds after they walk into it. And to a clean freak like Ally, well, that’s a bit stressful. If only she and her two mom friends could all just get a few hours away from yelling children, needy husbands and ringing cellphones. A moms’ night out, you could call it! A little time at a nice restaurant where they could share a good meal and unwind. Why, that would be bliss. What could possibly go wrong with a perfect scenario like that? Except, of course, everything. Which is the exact opposite of what happens with this quality comedy that gives us lots of laughs, great messages and very, very little negative content.
When the Game Stands Tall (PG): Sports history is full of David-vs.-Goliath stories of underdog teams rising up to slay indomitable giants—many of which have been made into very satisfying movies. When the Game Stands Tall flips that familiar formula on its head while still holding on to that satisfying part of the equation. We watch what happens to a dedicated coach and a group of high school football players when the longest winni
ng streak in American sports history comes to an end. Both the coach and the players have some soul-searching to do about what really matters in life, especially when real tragedy rears its ugly head. Fortunately, Coach Bob Ladouceur is bolstered by a deep faith, convictions he’ll need to help guide his young team through the painful losses—both on the field and off.
The Song (PG-13): As in, The Song of Solomon—with a modern, musical twist. Jed King is a young singer whose career has been floundering. But that all changes after he meets, falls in love with and marries Rose. As in, the Rose of Sharon. Her love inspires him like no one else he’s ever known. And Jed writes the most incredible song about her … that quickly becomes a huge hit. Next stop: fame. Then temptation and sin. As Jed gradually learns just how futile it is to chase after the wind, so do we as the film bombards us with lofty and lyrical life lessons about love—man’s and God’s.
God’s Not Dead (PG): In a year full of faith-themed movies, perhaps none was a bigger surprise at the box office than the drama God’s Not Dead, which ended up raking in a whopping $61 million. The movie pits an earnest Christian freshman against a hardened, cynical philosophy professor who asks each of his students to sign a paper agreeing that “God is dead.” When Josh Wheaton says he can’t do that, the professor forces him to defend the idea that God is not dead. And so he does in this (at times) melodramatic movie about clinging tenaciously to your beliefs when they’re attacked.
Son of God (PG-13): It’s the life of Christ as told by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Jr. Essentially a distillation of the Gospels’ portion of their hit History Channel miniseries The Bible, Son of God is both reverent and inspirational—which is certainly far more than can be said for the year’s other two biblically inspired features (Noah and Exodus).
Movie summaries written by Plugged In reviewers Paul Asay, Bob Hoose and Adam Holz.