After watching the faith-based film “Woodlawn,” My first response was “Wow!” I have never seen a clearer presentation of the Gospel in a film that will also appeal to nonbelievers.
We often like a film, not because of its intrinsic quality but because of the message it brings to nonbelievers. That's not what you’ll see when you watch “Woodlawn.” It provides an inspiring story that will thrill your heart and challenge you AND nonbelievers at the same time.
This is the true story of Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama that was experiencing racial tensions in 1973 because of new integration policies that bused blacks into a formerly all- white high school. The 500 African American students didn’t want to be there, and the white students certainly didn’t want them there.
As you can imagine, racial tensions invaded every facet of the campus, especially the lackluster football team. But at one point a “motivational speaker” challenged the team to let Jesus get rid of the hate and anger and follow Him instead. To the surprise of the administration, the whole team made a commitment to follow Jesus that day and thus began to work together instead of against each other.
As Woodlawn played as a unit, they demonstrated to their community that the “love of Christ” made a difference at their school when racial tension was infecting the rest of Birmingham. Their school led to spiritual renewal at other high schools in Birmingham and eventually throughout the whole community. Woodlawn learned that there was more to life then winning football games.
This film mainly follows the life of Tony Nathan, the star running back for Woodlawn who went on to become one of the first African American football players at the University of Alabama. Nathan then went on to fulfill his dream as a star running back for the Miami Dolphins for nine years.
Don’t be misled; this is not a simple story about football. It is a story about hope, inspiration, commitment, and faith in Jesus. You don’t always win when you do the right thing, but it is always right to do the right thing.
Yes, I was pleased with the clear Gospel presentation, but just as important for me was the quality production with a story line that will appeal to believers and non-believers alike. The acting is professional with stars such as Sean Astin, Jon Voight, and Nic Bishop with a solid supporting cast. The story is believable and interesting, offering a spiritual message that is spot on.
I left the film asking, “Why don't they make more movies like this?” I expect it to get good "word of mouth,” so don’t be afraid to invite your non-believing friends. You won’t be embarrassed. And you probably will come away with a foundation for some interesting conversations.
Watch the movie trailers #1 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRQaEJv9qIk
and trailer # here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_tq-NbPuaI
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