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October 2008

by Melissa Walters


Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Alex Kendrick
Screenwriter: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Cast: Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea, Ken Bevel, Harris Malcom, Phyllis Malcom, Stephen Dervan, Eric Young, Jason McLeod, Renata Williams, Dwan Williams, Stephanie Makulinski
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic material and some peril)


Caleb (Kirk Cameron) is a hero to everyone except his wife, Catherine (Erin Bethea). After several years of marriage, he and his wife cannot engage in a discussion without argument. When his wife finally advises she wishes to seek a divorce, Caleb agrees without hesitation until he tells his parents. Caleb’s father (Harris Malcom) issues him a 40 day challenge, Caleb cannot acquiesce to a divorce until he completes the Love Dare.

This film is the second Christian film directed by Alex Kendrick, co-written with his brother Stephen Kendrick, and inspired by their book, the Love Dare scheduled for September 2008 release. Like their 2006 film Facing the Giants, God plays a prominent role in this film. Here, the message is clear; learning to live like God, showing love, forgiveness and patience even when not reciprocated, proves to be not only one’s salvation but the salvation of a marriage.

Produced by Baptist ministry Sherwood Productions, the film’s lead talent, a highly recognized television star of yesteryear, generates enough interest to attract the attention of many who might have otherwise overlooked a “religious themed” film. The otherwise unknown cast, including newcomer Ken Bevel, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. who makes his film debut as Caleb’s friend, co-worker and greatest example, Lt. Simmons, offer decent performances under the circumstances.

The circumstances; well the dialogue is predictable and clichéd and the characters sorely underdeveloped; leaving the events leading up to their respective predicaments subject to pure speculation. Nevertheless, while it is difficult to embrace these characters, it is easy to appreciate their efforts, efforts which are genuinely inspiring. For those who shy away from more traditional sermon, this film exemplifies that God’s word can be effectively conveyed in mainstream ways, even couched as an adventure film.