War Room opened in theaters across America on 28 August 2015. As of this writing it is still in theaters and apparently, despite the usual detractors and numerous scathing reviews, the film is resonating with people across the nation. The faith based pic managed to garner a 97% Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the most popular movie rating sites in the country. Some critics may think it’s cheesy, but this film must be doing something right.
Having been a born again Christian for 35 years now, it’s difficult even as an amateur film critic to be completely objective about a film like this. It made me cry. And any movie that makes me cry, instantly receives a 10 for 10 rating,whether Christian or secular. Many Christians, as well as other believers pray regularly, and War Room focuses on prayer, that extremely important aspect in our daily lives.
The “cheesy” War Room opens with a solemn elderly MissClara (Karen Abercrombie) standing before the grave of her late husband. Her grief is obvious, and you automatically assume she makes frequent visits. Despite the mourning, there is still a certain resolve that she manages to convey. Her personal loss is naturally tragic, but her inner strength compensates for it.
In another part of town, there’s another tragedy in the making. A family is falling apart, beginning with one of the most common problems. Finances. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan are not exactly in sync when Tony finds out that his wife has transferred a considerable amount of money from their savings account to help her sister. Both have great careers, Tony a top sales-man with a pharmaceutical company, Elizabeth, a successful real estate a-gent; but despite their upper class lifestyle, the husband has outwardly be-come more and more distant from his wife and his young daughter Danielle. Money does not equal happiness in this house.
A thin ray of hope does emerge when Elizabeth meets the irrepressible Miss Clara at the widow’s home which she is selling. In addition to arranging a list price for the house, Miss Clara cleverly injects herself into her agent’s personal life, and persuades Elizabeth to meet for one hour once a week to learn how to pray for her husband. She gives her (and us) plenty of biblical ammunition to use against the sinister wiles of the devil. Naturally, there are always obstacles and difficulties along the way, but Miss Clara convinces us who have walked in Elizabeth’s shoes, that hope, no matter how elusive it seems, can spring eternal by supernatural means.
T.C. Stallings is perfect as the initially ice cold Tony, a neglectful husband and father with everything he could want materially, and yet seems not to really appreciate it. His wife and and daughter played by Priscilla Shirer and Alena Pitts are quite the opposite, sensitive, yet strong enough to hold their own even in a relatively unstable home environment.
Karen Abercrombie’s Miss Clara channels all her spiritual wisdom and vibrant energy throughout, adamantly refusing to be joyless – and fearful. She shows incredible relaxation, even after facing down extreme danger which may seem impossible as well as impractical to Christians and non Christians.
Alex Kendrick, whose Sherwood Films (he produces through Faith Step and Affirm Films this go round), rendered up faith based films like Fire-proof, Facing the Giants, and the fatherhood centered Courageous, once again brings all these talents together, and confirms the spiritual calling he received to create vital messages and lessons for Christian people, through the impact of the big screen. His War Room serves as an inspiration to believers and non believers, notably the latter who may be looking for some-thing (or someone) that was there all the time.