Any man who wants to be a good father to his offspring, regardless of any reli-
gious affiliation or whether or not he’s a Christian, will do well by seeing Courageous.
The underlying message is the familiar “narrow minded” thinking of accepting Jesus
Christ as personal savior, which some critics may immediately denigrate. However,
there’s no denigrating the true message of the film promoting the stark reality that
fatherless homes are some of the most troubled in our land today and that fathers who
willfully neglect their children will pay the consequences.
Unlike their previous faith based offerings(Facing the Giants, Fireproof), Sher-
wood Baptist films and Alex Kendrick launches Courageous on an unapologetically in-
tense action scene with a palpability that immediately draws you in. I won’t spoil it here.
It involves one of our five main characters.
Set, as usual, in Sherwood’s home of Albany, Georgia, Courageous rightly chroni-
cles the struggles of four police officers and one civilian worker whose lives intersect
while trying to keep their families together. There’s Adam Mitchell(played by the direc-
tor) who while being dedicated to protecting the public, forgets special family occasions
and neglects his teenage son, his friend and partner Shane Fuller, trying to keep a
relationship with his son after a divorce, Nathan Hayes, the new professional on the force
dealing with his daughter’s desire to date boys, rookie David Thompson hiding a personal
secret from sometime back and Javier Martinez serving as a metaphor symbolizing the
Unexpected personal tragedy hit’s Adam and his family in such an unimaginable
way, that he knows it’s time for a major change. “I don’t want to be just a good enough
father”, he tells Shane during a get together at his house. So instead of letting the devil
have his way and being bitter against God, the heartbreak inspires him to compose a sa-
cred resolution, a pledge to be the very best spiritual leader/ father he needs to be. He
gives copies to the others and, at the strong suggestion of Nathan’s wife, an official cere-
mony is enacted for all of them to commit to and sign this pledge.
Unfortunately, Albany is not a perfect town with perfect people. In addition to our
protagonists’ personal woes, they still must catch the bad guys. This includes a particular-
ly nasty gang of thugs whose sole purpose in life is to steal cars, peddle drugs, initiate
new members by gang beatings and doing anything else that’s against the law. They give
our heroes the proverbial run for their money.
Fortunately, this does not deter their efforts to improve themselves fatherly and
Kendrick wisely assures us that it’s usually a bumpy road on the way there. It’s certainly
not easy for anyone. He knows relationships cannot be mended or resolved within the
length of a two hour movie. His dialogue (co-written with brother Stephen), does not
serve as a perfect blueprint on how to be a good dad. Nor does it try to portray our prin-
ciple players as perfect men who are always blessed by the Lord. Indeed, real life more
often than not requires more time to handle personal issues than what is shown in Cou-
What the film does offer is the motivation that all fathers need to evaluate or in
some cases, re-evaluate their ideas about just what a father truly is, how important he is
as a leader and consequently how his decisions to step up to the plate effects society as
a whole. Most, if not, all dads should be able to identify with one of the five examples
this movie puts forth – and learn from it too.