I’m Not Ashamed is a Christian Drama based on the life of Rachel Scott, one of the victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. I didn’t use to watch faith-based films not because I didn’t like them but because I never really had an interest in them. But over the last year, I decided to be more open-minded to them. After watching the trailer for this film during a screening of God’s Not Dead 2, I was 100x more interested in watching this movie and to my relief, this turned out to be the better film of the two.
Set in the TRL era of 1998, the story follows Rachel Scott (Masey McLain) in her daily struggles of surviving the Teenage Internment Camps known as ‘high school’. Rachel’s story is centered on her road to faith and the potholes that got her there. While the result of what happened the morning of Columbine is already known, that really isn’t the focal point of the story. The film is based on the journal writing of Scott that she wrote on months before her killing. Rachel was just a regular teenager going through the same problems any 14-18 year old would experience but she found it difficult to be comfortable in her faith with her friends and peers which made her question everything in her life. However, the relationships with the people around her and the impact she left on other people’s lives are the emotional selling point.
People who already hate Christian movies have made up their minds but this is one of the better done Christian films in the last few years and a personal favorite of mines. If you need any more evidence of the disconnect between typical critics and the viewing audiences, this film is scoring 29% with critics and 92% with audiences but hell it’s not like I listened to Rotten Tomatoes anyway. I really enjoyed the cast in this film. There aren’t any big name actors but the performances of Masey McLain, Ben Davies, and Emma Elle Roberts really sold the film for me. If there is a complaint to have is that I wish the film handled the ending better. We all know how this would end and the ending felt ham-fisted in how they handled the shooting. Understanding there wasn’t an easy way to present the climax but it does leave you with a lot to be desired but the overall message is heard loud and clear.
As a biopic and a Christian Film, I’m not Ashamed sets a standard that we haven’t seen a quite some time because it’s one of the few films that putting storytelling over sentiment. The story and the emotion put in by the cast is what wins this film over with me.
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