Parents' Guide to

Believe (2016)

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Faith-based holiday drama has familiar messages, violence.

Movie PG 2016 117 minutes
Believe (2016) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 11+

Good Family Movie

A movie about faith (Christian elements are subtle) and uniting together. Recommend for older children because of some violent scenes and the story line at times is complicated, which gives the movie a slow start, but gets better once you understand the plot.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 10+

Tries to be something it isn't.

This movie tries to be "It's a Wonderful Life" for a new generation, but it isn't. For one thing, while the pro-Christian messages in "It's a Wonderful Life" are natural, here they feel forced and force fed. Moreover, while "It's a Wonderful Life" can be enjoyed by believers and nonbelievers alike, believers will have a real chore to enjoy this one, and don't expect nonbelievers to enjoy it. Also, while it's well and good that the main character wants to take care of the town, he's not thinking of his employees. (This was where I walked out. Now you know why I walked out in midmovie.) That aspect of the movie reinforces the stereotypes that some people have of evangelicals as supporting probusiness, antilabor policies. And don't forget the violence. The positive aspects of the movie, which feel forced rather than natural, don't make up for its strong negative elements. If you can get past all this this is a movie for you and your children 10 and up. If the negative elements would be too much for you avoid.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7):
Kids say (1):

An earnest approach and some bright performances almost rescue this routine, predictable holiday drama, but its one-dimensional characters and silly plot turns can't be overlooked. Hoping to touch the heart in the same way It's a Wonderful Life has for generations (it can't be a coincidence that the "angel" at the center of Believe is named "Clarence"), Believe falls well short of its goals.

On the plus side, kids are likely to fall in love with CJ; there's no denying Brown's talent, warmth, and appeal. On the other hand, the movie's simplistic, faith-based messages appear to dictate the storyline rather than emerge from it organically. Bottom line? It's OK for holiday viewing, as long as you're ready for the elements of suspense and violence.

Movie Details

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