War Room (PG)

In a word: Encouraging

Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) and Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C Shirer). PICTURE: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

"This film is unabashed in its presentation of the hope and change that Jesus Christ can bring through prayer without being overly saccharine (as some US faith-based films can be)..."

The latest film from the Kendrick brothers, creators of Fireproof and Courageous, War Room continues their pattern of presenting Christianity within the contemporary North American context.

The film takes it's name from the prayer closet used by elderly "prayer warrior" Miss Clara (played by Karen Abercrombie) who comes into contact with Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C Shirer), a woman who seemingly is living the American dream but who in reality is struggling to hold together her marriage and find purpose in her life.

Her husband, slick pharmaceutical salesman Tony (TC Stallings), is increasingly away from home as he chases ever higher bonuses to keep the money flowing (not to mention his wandering eye) and, as a result, is becoming more and more distant from both his wife and his daughter Danielle (Alena Pitts).

Engaging Elizabeth, a realtor, to sell her home, Miss Clara immediately senses all is not right and the two soon strike up a friendship in which Miss Clara reintroduces Elizabeth to a God who loves her and teaches her that her real enemy is not her husband, but Satan and the deception he has brought into her and her husband's lives. And so the transformation, which starts in the prayer closet, begins to sweep through her life.

It's not an easy journey and there are no "quick fixes" but the Jordans soon discover what it is that really matters in life - and what doesn't. Of course, things are wrapped up fairly neatly at the end but overall it's a fairly authentic take on the ups and downs of the Christian walk.

This film is unabashed in its presentation of the hope and change that Jesus Christ can bring through prayer without being overly saccharine (as some US faith-based films can be), although things do get a little bit schmaltzy right at the end (after the main narrative is finished).

It will appeal to a Christian audience on the more evangelical end of the spectrum (and no doubt will be used in some churches as a call to get people praying), though it's probably a little too heavy-handed in its message to gain much traction among the wider movie-going public.

A straight-forward take on the difference prayer can make.

~ www.warroomthemovie.com