Watched the newish Christian film I Am Not Ashamed on iTunes over the weekend. I believe this was released in a limited theatrical run last year… it’s produced by Pure Flix and Universal which is an interesting combo (because usually these movies don’t get a big studio on their side).
Anyhow, this is actually a pretty good film about a believable teen girl who wants to be right with god yet has darkness and depression weighing her down. She doesn’t let it show in public and she continues to try to help people (without being insufferable) and just be a good person and a good friend. The movie shows teens smoking and drinking without being super-judgy about it… and it shows the teen girl spend time with her church group and simply wearing a cross at school.
A movie about Christian student by a Christian studio that isn’t super judgmental and is actually written and acted well. It’s pretty rare. I’ve said it before – these films by studios like Pure Flix rarely have the budget or the acting they need… and their scripts can be pretty cringy and holier-than-thou.
And then Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold bring some guns to school and shoot everyone, including the teen girl. Because, surprise, this movie takes place in 1999 Columbine. And, sadly, the depiction of these two killers was pretty surface level (playing video games and reading Mein Kampf? Doesn’t get any deeper than that). But the girl was a real person who was one of the victims of these two madmen.
One can make a very VERY strong argument that any movie about Columbine probably shouldn’t actually be about anything else. That making an explicitly Christian film and using this tragedy as a window dressing to their ultimate Point is offensive (and, indeed, the trailer got a lot of hate). And that’s a reasonable argument except that this movie is pretty good in its own right. I really wish they had left out the Columbine bits or at least treated them as more than just window-dressing.
I actually rented it thinking it would be a good hate-watch… an insufferably preachy film that would show its hero as a martyr against the bastards who shot her. It’s not nearly that simple. They made a good movie about a good person who wanted to help people, felt isolated and dark at times, and generally just wanted to be herself without pressuring others to be like her.
The movie is genuinely moving and thoughtful, especially after the shooting. I can recommend it. I really can. Despite its worst instincts, it’s best instincts are stronger.