First, I need to say the movie is an accurate portrayal of committed, sold out evangelical Christian life. So, for believers who have simply been waiting for that, go see the movie. For nonbelievers who don’t have a clue and would like to know what that is, go see the movie.
I’ve read and/or skimmed some of the professional reviews, the respectful ones and the snide, and I’m thrilled this wonderful, powerful, and joyous movie is now number one in the box office. Many of these reviewers must now be scratching their heads. As to a rating, this movie is for every audience, ages 13 1/2 to 113 1/2. I give it Five Stars.
The movie opens with Miss Clara narrating. She is the age old believing matriarch and she’s counseling, “We fight for power. We fight for riches. We fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about. Very few of us know how to fight the right way.” She’s talking about fighting the real enemy, the spiritual enemy, the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy…Satan. Karen Abercrombie, who by-the-way is at least two decades younger than the Miss Clara character she plays, is marvelous.
Elizabeth Jordan, played by African American author and speaker Priscilla Shirer, is an attractive upper-middle class wife, mom, real estate agent married to a power-house, often cold traveling pharmaceutical sales rep. She’s exasperated and exhausted by constantly quarreling with her husband Tony, played with a vengeance by T. C. Stallings. Elizabeth is upset overhearing her pre-teen daughter (Alena Pitts) tell her DoubleDutch girlfriend she wished she lived at her house. So, Elizabeth’s not quite, but almost ripe for the pickin’ when she arrives at Miss Clara’s door to help the older woman sell her home. You see, prayer warrior Miss Clara had been praying for someone she could share with what she’s learned about the strategy of prayer. And the way Miss Clara does it, it is indeed strategy. It’s war. Hence the movie’s title, WAR ROOM.
One of the professional reviewers called Elizabeth practically falling into Miss Clara’s lap contrivance, or the miraculous. The second of those is closer to the truth. Actually, believers know it’s quite normal and usual for this type of prayer to be answered in just this way.This reviewer also wrote, “All the major characters in “War Room” are black, which may be another reason why some underestimated the movie’s ability to draw flocks to megaplexes.” I had to laugh at that one. The true Christian church is much more color blind than they know. Another reviewer wrote, “The movie equivalent of repeatedly being punched by a Bible, War Room is so brazen with its Evangelical agenda and curbed by its lackluster cinematic approach that nonbelievers will find it laughable.” It’s a given, both of these men have never been to a senior citizen church lady’s home for coffee.
This movie doesn’t utilize contrivance as a vehicle. Those who think that misunderstand the power of prayer. The movie tells a compelling story, but it’s also a study in how to pray…or one method of prayer. What director Alex and producer Stephen Kendricks have given us is an authentic portrayal of the impact a prayer warrior can have on another individual in desperate need. Do prayer warriors always have this type of success? No. Is it atypical? Also, no. It’s not unusual for this type of blessing to emanate from sold-out prayer.
The “war room” is an actual place in Miss Clara’s house. It’s her favorite room…well, actually a large closet with a chair, a Bible, and sheets of paper with prayers written on them tacked to the walls. Miss Clara waits until just the right time to show Elizabeth her war room. Eventually, Elizabeth clears out her closet and adopts this method of prayer for herself. It’s a viable method of prayer, and certainly not one created by this movie making brother team. This method of strategic prayer is used by many real life prayer warriors. Do all Christians spend an hour or more praying? No, but prayer warriors do, and most churches have a few of those. This is a movie about a prayer warrior mentoring another fledgling prayer warrior.
I went to see the movie with Christian writer Jenna Victoria who had already seen it once, wanted to go again, and contacted me. About halfway through, she pulled out a package of tissues took one for herself and passed me one. I had been wiping tears from the corners of my eyes, and so had she.