Director: Alex Kendrick
War Room is faith-based movie that revolves around a rocky marriage that needs some desperate saving and perhaps even a miracle from above. Tony, an athletic and ambitious personality, plays a character of a typical husband who loves his job more than spending time with his wife. Between the fighting couple is a child who desperately wishes for a peaceful home. Just when things looked hopeless, Elizabeth, a real estate agent, meets a client-turned friend Ms. Clara who reshapes her perspective on her marriage, jumpstarts her long lost faith and teaches her to ‘fight the right way’.
It’s best to go in watching this movie knowing as little as possible so that the gentle ebb and flow of the story can be enjoyed without being too predictable. But the movie makes no mystery of the fact that this is a story about prayer as the most powerful weapon to be used against conflict, moral compromises and chaos in the lives of the characters.
The Kendrick brothers (Director and writer) seem to be improving with each movie they make and the script is a neat and tight one although it may linger on a few clichés. I did wish, however, that they showed more about how and why the marriage crumbled in the first place and why Tony seems to despise his wife. This would have helped the audience be more emotionally invested in the couple. The actors perform convincingly enough though the character of Tony seems a little one-dimensional along with the performance as he constantly wears a monotone ‘bad guy’ expression and tag from the beginning. He doesn’t seem to have any redeeming quality for us to root for him.
Priscilla C. Shirer, who plays the wife, Elizabeth, connects well with the audience and renders a fairly authentic picture of a Christian woman who battles it out in prayer to save her marriage. Karen Abercrombie (Ms. Clara) needs special mention for her charismatic performance that wins our hearts. With her persistent energy and wit, she even manages to knock out a few punch lines.
This movie reminded me of a motivational karate or sports movie with us rooting for the underdog about to face his biggest challenge and who trains with a grey-haired coach or master to come out in triumph through all the trials, leaving us pumped up and teary-eyed having learned a life lesson along the way. The director does have a soft corner for making such sports movies and perhaps these elements are not coincidental. However, the refreshing message behind the story of ‘spiritual warfare’ is a potent one essential for our times when marriages are fragile and people give in far too easy.
Ms. Clara’s insightful dialogues remain with you and challenge you well beyond the closing credits and War Room sure does motivate the audience to turn prayer – an often, underrated, last-resort weapon – into a powerful practice to be adopted in our daily battles. In my opinion, this is a beautiful and hopeful movie to watch together as a family and talk over during dinner.