Courageous

  • Review Date: October 30, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011

Common Sense Media says

Despite violence, Christian fatherhood drama is uplifting.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are many family-centered positive messages about the importance of being a "present" father who doesn't just go through the motions but really takes his job as a father seriously. Javier puts his morals and his family first, even if it could cost him a job. In the aftermath of tragedy, Adam dedicates himself to becoming a better father. David decides to accept responsibility for the child he never met.

Positive role models

Adam, Javier, and Nathan are admirable men who believe that their role as fathers is sacred. Javier is hardworking, honest, and a committed family man. Almost all of the criminals depicted in the movie are African American.

Violence

A few tense and disturbing sequences, from the opening scene in which Nathan follows his car-jacked truck in order to rescue his baby, to a long chase on foot between the cops and a couple of suspects that ends in a fist fight. A teenage boy is repeatedly beaten during a gang initiation. A cop uses a Taser to subdue someone. In a climactic cops vs. gang members scene, a criminal grabs a young girl as a hostage. A child is heartbreakingly killed (off camera) in an accident.

Sex

Married couples embrace; a girl is asked out by an interested guy. A man explains that his father had children with six different women; another reveals that, during a one-night stand in college, he fathered a child he's never met.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A police officer is shown stealing drugs (white powder) that are supposed to be entered into evidence. Gang members discuss an upcoming drug deal, and one tries to get rid of his stash.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie, which was produced by the same Protestant church that made Fireproof, is equal parts message movie and Evangelical ministry tool. Consequently, the story focuses on themes about conversion to Christianity and being a good, godly father. There's no language or sex, but there's more violence/peril than in similar films -- the cop protagonists engage in chases and skirmishes with suspects that end in fight fights and, in one case, a child being temporarily taken hostage at gunpoint. Tragedy strikes the central family, and one cop's baby is nearly kidnapped when his truck is car jacked. Because of the grown-up themes that focus on the nature of fatherhood and following God's path as a parent, this isn't a movie that will appeal to kids; it's aimed at the men, particularly dads, in the audience.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Adam (Alex Kendrick) is a police officer in a small Georgia town. When Nathan (Ken Bevel) transfers to the squad from a bigger city, the two of them and their partners, Shane (Kevin Downes) and David (Ben Davies), form an easy friendship centered around work and socializing with their families. After a tragic accident strikes Adam's family, he's at first distraught; but then he decides to study the Bible for enlightenment about what it takes to a righteous father. After weeks of research and prayer, Adam creates a special contract that he plans to sign to as a sacred oath. His friends agree to join him -- even David, who isn't a Christian at the start of the movie. Just as the four men are settling into their renewed roles as godly fathers, one of them compromises himself -- and forces his colleagues to decide whether to cover for him or keep him accountable to their shared oath.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In some ways, this is the best film produced to date by Kendrick and the other filmmakers at Sherwood Baptist Church. The production values are good, a couple of the actors -- particularly Bevel and Davies -- seem like pros, and they're obviously using their profits from Fireproof to up the ante here. But for secular audiences or those who don't already believe in the Evangelical idea of what constitutes a good Christian family, the movie could be off-putting once the focus shifts to Adam's mission in the second half.

 

It's not that the plot isn't touching or the message inspiring -- every man should aspire to be a wonderful, loving father who puts his children first, even when it's not convenient. But so much of the film feels like an invitation not just to church but to a very specific kind of Christianity that it's hard not to feel preached to, even though there are some genuinely poignant moments. Ultimately the appeal here is for those who already believe, in which case the movie is a call to action and reaffirmation to be the ideal Christian father.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good father. What does this movie teach about the meaning of fatherhood? Does that match your own experience?

  • Do you have to be a Christian to understand or appreciate what this movie is saying about fatherhood and life in general?

  • Do you think the violent/tense scenes were necessary to the story? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 30, 2011
DVD release date:January 16, 2012
Cast:Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Kevin Downes
Director:Alex Kendrick
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Drama
Run time:130 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violence and drug content

This review of Courageous was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bycarlisle706 November 2, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

love movie

This movie is the best. I hope it will teach people to love there families and GOD.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byDMfanCassy November 1, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!

This is one is on my TOP 10 FAVORATE MOVIE LIST!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this movie alot.... I went to see it with my brother and a few friends.... But when I left the theater I wish my dad was there to see it with us! He did pick us up... and I really hope we see it with him soon!!! I have never seen a movie like this. I liked that it had some things in the movie that was on edge for us teenagers, cause even though most Christian movie I've seen are really good, this isn't for anyone under 10... and it give teens some freedom to see a good movie that isn't for younger children, but without any kind of profanity or imorality. It was very good, and when (SPOIL ALERT!) Adam's son said that he wished he had been a better brother to his late sister, it made me think about my siblings... and that if they were gone tomorrow, what if i didn't say I was sorry for something or made them feel bad about something.... SO this is a MUST SEEEE!!! OK? :)

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byericcs November 1, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Two thumbs WAY Up! An excellent movie

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families