Ring the Bell

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Ring the Bell Movie Poster Image
Heavy-handed Christian drama tries to recruit new believers.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Faith is more important than money. Success isn't everything. You should take the time to get to know people and respect their choices.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All characters are well-intentioned but most are drawn simplistically as believers or nonbelievers, with the addendum that even the most well-intentioned non-believer is still on the wrong path. Many characters have a kind of folksy wisdom about God and belief. 

Violence

References to deceased family members and parents who have died in a car crash or a plane crash or were hurt in a car accident but then survived. A man tells a story of a tribe of men who murder a group of missionaries.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Flashy cars, status, wealth are used to depict a character as shallow and worldly.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief reference to a mother with a drinking problem.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ring the Bell is a heavy-handed Christian drama that features an orphanage full of young boys and teens who've lost their parents, either through abandonment, alcoholism, or deaths that are referenced. There also are long scenes of characters talking about faith and God and encouraging other characters to become Christian. There's a long scene featuring a Christian concert, followed by a sermon and call to confess. There's a plot about a sports agent who tries to sign a young baseball player, but the focus is on getting this guy to see that his shallow life of money, cars, and success is nothing if he doesn't have God. There are positive lessons about living an honorable life and spending time with others and getting to know them to better understand their point of view, as well as being transformed by witnessing kindness to become more kind and giving in one's own life, but all this is sold through a strong message to recruit believers. Best for older kids and not likely to hold the attention of young ones.

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What's the story?

Rob Decker (Ryan Sharoun) is a big-shot sports agent looking to sign a young baseball player. Trouble is, the player is intent on going to college first, so Decker heads out to spend time with him and his community, hoping to convince him to bypass academia for the big leagues. But the more he learns about the players and the lives they lead, the more he begins to question everything, including his own life, work, and faith.

Is it any good?

RING THE BELL starts out innocently enough. Here's a story about a hard-charging sports agent whose cockiness all but begs for a takedown, and there's some baseball thrown in to boot. The problem is, you don't expect the takedown to be quite so long-winded or quite so overt a sell on Christianity. What follows are a serious of scenes of sincere, long, thoughtful conversations about God, faith, and change and a host of characters full of preternaturally deep, folksy, Bible-quoting wisdom. Everyone is saintly in his or her devotion to goodness; each is waiting patiently for as long as it takes for the main character to come around. There are scenes designed to show the goodness of Christians, but they're sentimental and overwrought: a pair of siblings who run an orphanage whose own parents then died in a plane crash, making them orphans; an entire Christian music performance, sermon, and call to confess wedged in the middle of the film. It veers into caricature before it can preach to anyone but the choir and renders everything in black and white. There are people who believe and people who don't, and it's highly doubtful anyone who doesn't is going to find inspiration here. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's message. What was the main point of the film? Did you find it convincing? Why, or why not?

  • Was Rob Decker a bad person? What does the film say about his priorities? Do you agree with him?

  • Do you think it's smart for athletes to have a backup plan? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love baseball

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