If you’ve ever watched an average Christian movie with a teen, there tends to be a lot of eye rolling at the questionable production values and acting. Although American Christian movies are slowly improving, a new Christian movie might just be the vehicle Bible teachers and mentors of teens have been seeking. Produced by Matthew Jenkins (Murder on the Orient Express) and Ken Denison (The Lion King on Broadway), The Most Reluctant Convert has production values similar to your favorite BBC production, actors who are experienced and a storyline that is unique and engaging.
The movie focuses on the early life of author C.S. Lewis as told by Lewis through his books and other writings and speeches….portrayed in the movie by an actor representing an older C.S. Lewis. This older Lewis revisits scenes and incidents from his childhood and young adulthood as he tells his story. Younger actors play Lewis at various stages of his life including his childhood, a stint as a soldier during WWI and as a student and later professor at Oxford University.
In case you were unaware, Lewis did not begin his life as a Christian, but rather as an avowed atheist. Through the course of the movie “Lewis” shares the events, books and people who shaped his doubts and later shaped his Christian faith. Because Lewis had many of the same doubts and beliefs as other atheists, the movie directly addresses those doubts. Fans of Lewis will recognize some of the things he says, while those more familiar with his children’s books may be more interested at first in Lewis’ friendship with the author Tolkien and the influence Tolkien had on Lewis’ faith.
Because The Most Reluctant Convert has the same pace as a BBC production, some action movie fans might find it a bit slow. For those who love historical dramas, this will hit all of their favorite aspects of the genre. Teens with doubts they have been afraid to express will get them answered in an understandable and thoughtful way with the words of C.S. Lewis himself. Those teens who are only marginally interested in being a Christian may find themselves challenged by Lewis’ understanding that Christianity requires one to be fully in or fully out – nothing in between is acceptable. Those teens who cringe at production values will be intrigued by the movie within a play within a real life story aspect of the movie.
Best of all for short attention spans, the movie isn’t very long. Our showing in the theater actually started with a short on the making of the movie. Normally that might bother me because of the expense of a movie ticket these days, but this movie had so much depth to it, had it been longer, it would have been overwhelming.
As it is, you and your Bible students will have a lot to process and discuss for some time after seeing the movie. It’s a great starting point for those theological discussions your Bible students so desperately need.