I’m a cinephile; I love watching movies. Unfortunately, Christian movies tend to be poorly made and cheesy. I want to discuss why I think Christian movies are often lackluster and fall flat.
The Fault of Christian Movies
I am not a filmmaker, just someone who loves movies and tends to look at them critically. I may not know a lot about filmmaking, but I know storytelling, and a lot of the time, that’s where Christian films fall short. I’ve had many Christians scoff at my opinion on Christian movies, but if they were made better, I wouldn’t have a problem. For me, a film needs to have at least one of four things to be enjoyable: A good story, good writing, good acting, or good production value.
If a movie hits all criteria for me, it will be in my list of best movies ever made. But I can enjoy a movie that has some of those things but not all of them. Unfortunately, a lot of Christian moves are missing all of those criteria, and thus, for me, they’re lackluster and not worth my time to sit and watch them.
All that being said, I have thought of some reasons why I don’t enjoy a lot of Christian movies. If Christian filmmakers adjust how they make movies for spiritual audiences, they could see a positive rise in success. So, here is my list of reasons why Christian movies are lackluster.
Reason Why Christian Movies Are Lackluster #1: Low Production Value
Most Christian movies are often low budget, and they look like it. I don’t have a problem with low budget movies, because a low budget movie can be well-made, but most Christian movies don’t make up for the lack of production value in other areas like great acting or excellent writing. A movie with a low production value that doesn’t make up for it in other areas is a turn off to a lot of people who enjoy movies. Many Christian films don’t have good writing or good acting.
Facing the Giants (2006) is one of the worst movies I have ever seen because it’s production value is awful and doesn’t have good acting, writing, or even a decent story. It’s just a poorly made film. Nothing about that movie works for me, and when you’re trying to have an impact on someone, impressing them goes a long way.
And I think that’s what it comes down to, Christian filmmakers are trying to impact people. When you are trying to affect someone using a visual and storytelling medium like motion pictures, you need to remember that making up for a low production value with the story, acting, and writing is vital.
Reason Why Christian Movies Are Lackluster #2: The Intended Audience is Wrong
Who is the intended audience of Christian movies? Are they for the saved or the unsaved? If they’re for the saved, why are they preachy? If they’re for the unsaved, why is there so much Christianese and Christian subject matter? That’s the issue; Christian movies aren’t created for a generalized audience, they’re created for a select few, and because of that, there’s never a clear idea of who the movie is targeting, and thus, it falls flat.
Christian filmmakers need to know who they are making movies for. Is it for other Christians, and the point is to improve their lifestyle or walk with God? That’s fine and clear. If it’s for the unsaved, you can’t point fingers and call them sinners. That will have a negative effect, and they will walk away from the movie with resentment.
Reason Why Christian Movies Are Lackluster #3: Lacks Authenticity
In Christianity, authenticity is essential, but often not there. Everyone puts on a face of attempted perfection and spirituality. Unfortunately, that spills into Christian movies. A lot of Christian films feel fake. There’s a mask on them. They don’t show the real world; they show this false world with a Christian lens that isn’t authentic. People have “problems,” but they’re always easily washed away by Jesus and prayer. In real life, most problems people face need to be fought to overcome. Usually, the movies end when the sinners get saved, and everything is fine. That’s not real life.
With Christian movie production studios, you often have to follow the rules like never show alcohol or sex. You must not have cussing, no violence or gore. And no, you don’t need alcohol, sex, cursing, and violence to make a good movie, but you can have that stuff in there without explicitly showing it, and that is a little more authentic.
I honestly would love to see a Christian movie with a few small cusses in it or a bunch of drunk people discussing God, because it’s real! Though, I do agree that sex doesn’t need to be shown on screen, especially in a Christian film. But again, you can have things stop at the bedroom door.
Reason Why Christian Movies Are Lackluster #4: Preachy Writing
Again, who is the audience? Is it Christians? Why preach salvation to the people who already have salvation? Are the movies for the unsaved? Why would they come to a film to be preached at?
Christian filmmakers, please don’t use your films to preach; use them to tell a story! People watch movies for entertainment. If we want a message, we’ll go to church or a Bible study. Tell a good story, and if characters get saved in it, that’s fine. Remember, a movie’s point is to entertain the audience, not preach to them. I have the same issue with non-Christian films that also try to preach secular messages to the audience. I do not like preachy movies.
I do have some Christian movies that I enjoy and believe are well made. I will write a separate article about that and list them off for you.
What is it about Christian movies you enjoy or don’t enjoy? Let’s have a conversation in the comments below.