by N. Renee Brown
Basically: Boy finds girl, girl gets cancer. God is involved.
I Still Believe is based on the true love story of singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning, who met in college and fell in love. When Melissa is diagnosed with stomach and liver cancer they decide to get married. Through faith and prayer they maintain their hope that she will be cured.
Let’s start out by saying: This movie isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of Christian overtones—likely too many for the average viewer—but if you are in the audience I expect you are hoping to get some faith with your entertainment.
Photo: Michael Kubeiy
Britt Robertson is fantastic as Melissa Henning. Her final scene was so brutal and honest that I cried and had flashbacks to an experience in my own life. Yet it isn’t just that final scene that she rocks—she makes us understand why Jeremy fell in love with Melissa. She makes us root for them as a couple and for Melissa as an individual. I loved Robertson in Tomorrowland and she’s just gotten better
And KJ Apa is a powerful lead. You never question his devotion to Melissa or to his music. He played a pretty good Archie in Riverdale but I like him much better with black hair and faith, for whatever reason it just works.
Photo: Michael Kubeiy
The production values are high, which isn’t always the case for Christian studios like Kingdom Studios so this was a pleasant surprise (but they are connected to Lionsgate, so I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked). They also made me
cry more than once. The story is solid, and they stuck the landing. Still, I have
Some of the side characters are so stiff I honestly wondered if they got real people to do cameos—nope, just really bad acting. But my big concern is the Christian elements. They are so thick that I believe this movie will have a very narrow audience appeal. Even some people, who go in expecting it, may be shocked by the level of mysticism involved in I Still Believe. They even go so far as to put up an “ad” at the end of movie encouraging anyone who wants to talk about faith to reach out.
In the End: I Still Believe isn’t a bad movie—it’s a perfectly adorable sad love story—just be ready for a lot of heavy-handed religion.