This one has caught my eye on more than one occasion while standing in front of Redbox, but I never picked it up until Tuesday.
Glad I did.
And as I sit down to write out a review in my traditional format (The Good, The Bad, Conclusion), I find that I simply can’t. It just doesn’t work for this film.
The film is the story of five men. Most are police officers, all are fathers, and all are relatively good people. The beginning deals with their daily lives, and you see examples of both good and bad fathering. They aren’t bad so to speak, but they could be better. One scene stands out to me… The main character’s daughter asks him to dance with her. He refuses (laziness? embarrassment?).
For me, I remember reading that one of the greatest things a dad could ever do was to never be embarrassed to play with their kids. I try to remember it when I go to the park or am out in a public place. Yep, you’ll see me do “embarrassing” things with my kids all the time.
I simply don’t care.
Anyway, later on, a tragedy hits this family and dad realizes that he’s got to shape up or lose his family. The rest of the film deals with his growth and the influence he has on his four friends and their growth. The film ends with a powerful tribute to the role of dad in the home, one that left Courtney and I sitting silently on the couch.
All that being said, I will point out that this is a Christian film. It’s put on by a Christian organization and God, religion, and faith are consistent themes. This is not denomination specific nor is it in your face. But I wanted to make you aware of the background. Personally, I don’t find that offensive, but there are those who don’t enjoy that. There are even religious people who don’t enjoy that, and I’m typically one who doesn’t care to have the religion of another person shoved down my throat.
This film does not do that.
Coming away from the film, I’m convinced of several things. First, as a father, I consider myself good but not necessarily great. I do play with my kids, I put my family first, and I try to care for them. I have a great example of a father in my own dad, and I do my best to fill some pretty big shoes. That being said, I could be better.
Second, father’s place in the home is a cherished and beautiful thing. Modern society has worked hard to diminish dad. This film not only restores the dignity of fatherhood but does so in uplifting ways for the entire family. It does not diminish the role of women or mothers. Rather, it lifts women to a proper and foundational role in the family. The doctrine and ideals taught in this film organizes the family how I believe it should be organized: as the fundamental building block of our society.
Third, I would hope that any father out there, regardless of ideological or political persuasion, would be willing to give this message a chance. In many ways, the message is a little hard to swallow, especially for someone like me who already felt like I was doing enough. Enough isn’t enough, though. Doing enough isn’t enough for our families. They need our best.
The acting was okay (not great, not terrible). The plot interesting but no Oscar winner. The humor was enjoyable. Some of the twists obvious. There was NO (let me emphasize that) NO swearing. No sex. Violence (the men are mostly police officers), but in the way that Beauty and the Beast is violent. And for all that, the film deserves 3 stars under my standard rating.
But for message…. This is not only one I would strongly recommend, but one I would like to own if only to remind myself every now and then that I can always do more, I can always do better, and my place in the family is essential.
Dads–No matter what you think of your own fatherhood, there is always something more to do.