Faith of Our Fathers
Film Review by Kam Williams
Faith-Based Family Film Finds Believer and Doubting Thomas Bonding En Route to Vietnam War Memorial in DC
GIs Steven George (Sean McGowan) and Edward Adams (Scott Whyte) became best friends while serving behind enemy lines in Vietnam, despite the fact that the former was a devout Christian while the latter was definitely a Doubting Thomas. Sadly, both the atheist and the believer perished in battle in 1969, with each leaving behind a child he never got to know.
Fast-forward a quarter-century and we discover that the apples didn't fall far from their patrilineal trees. Steven's offspring John (Kevin Downes) has been blessed with a strong faith like his late father, and Edward's son Wayne (David A.R. White) has somehow developed his own dad's disdain for organized religion.
This gulf in attitudes has ostensibly had a profound effect on the orphans' respective fortunes. For, John is stable and successful and on the brink of tying the knot with the love of his life, Cynthia (Candace Cameron Bure). By contrast, Wayne is an underachieving ne'er-do-well who has had more than his share of run-ins with the law.
Since John lives in California and Wayne in Mississippi, the two never met until the still-grieving groom-to-be informs his very patient fiancee that, before he walks down the aisle with her, he needs to repair the hole in his soul by learning all he can about his dearly-departed dad. That quest leads to Wayne, who just happens to have a stash of letters his father mailed home from the jungles of Southeast Asia.
The two soon hatch a plan to read the letters while making a pilgrimage to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC. What ensues is a very eventful road trip in which Christ and the devil do battle for the heathen's soul. The flashback-driven drama proceeds to alternate between the sons' spiritually-oriented sojourn and recreations of their dads similar discussions of the virtues of Christianity over the course of their fateful tour of duty overseas.
Thus unfolds Faith of Our Fathers, a faith-based modern parable directed and co-written by Corey Scott (Hidden Secrets). Fair warning: while the movie does feature wholesome family fare, it's occasional proselytizing (“Know that Jesus loves you and that you can trust Him.”) is distracting, but not so overpowering as to spoil the experience.
Look for Born Again Baldwin Brother Stephen in a scene-stealing performance as Sergeant Mansfield, the only character to appear both in the past and in present scenes. In 1969, we find him chastising Steven for preparing the men in his unit to die. But, he's singing a different tune 25 years later when he conveniently intervenes in a deus ex machina moment.
A latter-day variation on the Prodigal Son parable providing proof that God still works in mysterious ways.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for brief violence
Running time: 95 minutes
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment
To see a trailer for Faith of Our Fathers, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E49OumDl_yg