The context is Georgia and the milieu is decidedly Baptist, though one of the main characters is Catholic. If you allow the movie those starting points you can readily transfer nearly every bit of this into a Catholic context as well.
It strikes me that this would be exactly the sort of movie that sophisticated critics or critic-wannabees would sneer at but which, once the sneering was concluded, they would want to watch again. Liberal males will envy the men in it and liberal women will secretly wish they knew one of these guys instead of the “SNAGs”* with which they surround themselves.
The acting in Courageous is a bit uneven, as there are quite a few non-actor volunteers involved.
There are some good moments involving loss and grief and moral challenges, ethical dilemmas.
I would like in particular to recommend this movie to seminarians and priests. We too need a message like this every bit as much as fathers of families.
As a matter of fact, at the point after the four friends collectively make their commitment to manhood and fatherhood, the preacher they have with them makes a little speech which could be one of the best admonitions you could ever hear from a bishop to the men he will ordain:
“I also have a warning for each of you. Now that you know what you are to do, and have committed to do it before God and these witnesses, you are doubly accountable. Let me also assure you, that you may have confidence in this resolution and your resolve now, because as you stand here there’s no challenge, no controversy, and no conflict. But I can assure you that challenges will arise, conflicts will arise, and controversy will arise. It is at that moment that, in order to live our this resolution, you will need courage… courage… courage.”
This is what we need from our fathers in the family and in the Faith.
Holy Church has spiritual fathers. By Holy Orders they are both priest and victim, the one who offers sacrifice and the one who is sacrificed. Holy Church teaches that the family home is the “domestic church”, and so there must be within the home that figure who also embodies one who sacrifices and is sacrificed. That person is the father. And every manner fatherhood has been and will be attacked by the father of lies so as to drag society down so that lost souls may be harvested for eternal separation from the Eternal Father.
The song at the end of the film sums up the principle point:
The trailer is HERE.
We’ve got to get men back into society and we start by getting them back into families.
As I said above, there are uneven spots in the movie and some moments veer sharply and nearly irretrievably into the corny. But once you give yourself over to the premise of the movie, you will probably want to own it and give it as gifts.
It’s sincere, and it nails the the issues squarely. Give it a try.
*“sensitive new age guys”