Plot: Josh (Shane Harper) is a bright-eyed college freshman eager to begin his classes, but before he evens attends his first lecture, he is told that as a Christian, he might want to switch one of his classes. His philosophy class is run by Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), an aggressive atheist who loves to belittle religion and those who believe, but Josh opts to remain enrolled. The first day of class, Radisson asks the students to write “God is dead” on a sheet of paper and sign it, which allow him to skip over the debate of the existence of a higher power. The entire class signs, but Josh refuses and this stuns Radisson, who says that unless Josh can convince the class that God exists, one third of his overall grade will be a failing mark. At the same time, Radisson and Josh deal with issues of faith in their private lives, in their relationships to be specific. It soon becomes clear that faith is an issue woven into the lives of numerous people connected to the school, but can Josh prove that God is not dead?
Entertainment Value: God’s Not Dead is a Christian faith movie that was a box office hit and inspired a religious social movement, with a narrative that is rooted in the real life conflicts between some colleges and students of faith. The narrative is simple enough, as a student is tasked to persuade his classmates that God might exist, while his professor aims to do the opposite. This is the main thread of the movie, but there’s also several other stories interwoven and all touch upon faith, as well as the obstacles that are involved in belief. God’s Not Dead makes no effort to conceal what it is, a Christian movie that defends the existence of God and the benefits of faith, which is likely enough for some viewers to dismiss it. Those who appreciate Christian cinema will relate to this and find inspiration, but I also think the movie has some real b movie appeal, as it is rather over the top and has some oddball moments. Kevin Sorbo dials up the melodrama as the atheist professor, Dean Cain is here as a ruthless businessman, and Trisha LaFache is outlandish as an aggressive, social justice reporter who seems like such a total bitch, but is insanely fun to watch. As a Christian movie, God’s Not Dead does what it needs to do, but I feel like it is so blunt and forceful, the message is likely to be lost on newcomers to the faith. Even so, it resonates with the faith crowd and for those who appreciate offbeat b movie melodrama, it has some fun moments.
No nakedness. This is a movie about faith made for Christian audiences, so no sleaze is present whatsoever. The movie deals with relationship issues, but never approaches them from a sexual perspective. A little blood, but not even enough to warrant a point on the scale. A late scene involves a car accident and there’s some minor blood on a man, but it is non graphic and not gratuitous in the least. Otherwise, aside from some shouting and light verbal bullying, no violence is present here. The dialogue is a blend of mean spirited non-believers and calm, compassionate believers, which leads to some scenes with a lot of unintentional humor. The material is so forceful at times, it turns serious dialogue into silliness, which I think is great entertainment. But it can be hard to take seriously in some instances, as it is so one sided and heavy handed. This carries over to the general craziness as well, as the movie is so driven to hammer home its message that it provides no real balance. Anyone who is a Christian here seems likable and kind, while non-believers are shown as hateful, spiteful monsters. This is what will keep the movie from reaching beyond its core audience, but for b movie fans, it adds some wild moments and camp humor.
Overall Insanity: 5/10