I had a thought after watching this movie, which depending on how you look at it, could be the biggest flaw of the film or the biggest reason why this movie needs to exist. It is very easy to watch Overcomer, look at the dialogue along with how the characters interact with one another and say “this film isn’t realistic at all, this is not how real people act”.
That very well be may true and probably wouldn’t argue against it. The follow-up question to that statement, however, is the most devastating to your psyche and that is: If the film feels unrealistic because you cannot believe real people would act like this, is that a failure of the filmmaking? Or has society become so sunken that you can’t even fathom a reality where people aren’t as cynical as you are?
I bring this up because many who defended films like Good Boys were quick to say “well, that’s just how kids are these days”. Few were able to say that phrase without the sudden realization of “well, that’s not a good thing, is it?” We have entered a world where children can use extreme profanity while promoting sex acts and drug use…society, by and large, doesn’t blink or turn their heads. This is now considered ‘normal’. However, if we create a film where teenagers still practice the basic concept of manners or perhaps the film’s marital conflict isn’t heated or nasty enough to pass your average moviegoers’ litmus test, the first thing we’ll say is that this is terribly unrealistic. Well, why is that?
It’s difficult to criticize your average Christian film these days because nihilist film critics have already buried it as they see evangelicals as the bad guys, so much so they are now promoting the Satanic Temple as the good guys. Meanwhile, the general audience, who haven’t lost what is remaining of their souls, genuinely enjoyed the film and were emotionally moved. So if you are criticizing this film, who are you trying to convince, the people who already hate Christianity or the people who are already a part of it?
I guess when both sides have dug their heels into the turf, you should just be straightforward. Overcomer is a good film in desperate need of editing. That is the most objective description you are going to get. Christians will be emotional, Atheists will roll their eyes in disgust, the whole world will continue to spin (for now). While much of the film’s runtime should have been shortened for the sake of the narrative, the film’s third act is very strong and gives its audience hope that all is not lost. If that is what the Kendrick brothers were going for, they succeeded in that regard.
Jeffrey Lyles put it best: “It’s always lame how Christian films get criticized for “preaching to the choir” as if comic book films are catered toward stuffy Oscar voters or Oscar bait films are targeting geek culture. If Overcomer doesn’t make you think by the time the credits roll, the problem isn’t with the film.