"I Still Believe" was released in theaters on March 13, the final weekend before all movie theaters had to shut down due to concerns over COVID-19. This week, Lionsgate announced it would make the movie available to watch on demand at home on March 27.
When 18-year-old Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) packed his duffel bag and got ready to leave Lafayette, Indiana to go off to Calvary Chapel Bible College in San Diego by bus, the aspiring musician/ songwriter was given a new guitar by his parents (Shania Twain, Gary Sinise) so he go out into the world and “write his own story.” Little did he know that millions around the world would be moved by how the next two years of his life would impact all of ours.
First night on campus, he goes to hear a concert by CCBC alum and Christian singer John-Luc (Nathan Dean). Asking for advice as to how to become a successful songwriter, Jeremy is told it’s what the songs give people; the joy, the relief from pain, tell a familiar story. It is also at the concert that he notices a beautiful blonde in the third row swaying and praying to the music. Their eyes lock and they smile at each other.
A few days later while sitting under a tree strumming and composing, the blonde walks up and Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson) meets Jeremy. There are smiles, giggles and a blush or two as they verbally spar but by the end, Jeremy has been invited to meet Melissa at the beach later that evening and to bring his guitar. He thinks it’s a date but upon arrival, finds a group of college kids and a small driftwood fire. Melissa is there and so is John-Luc, whom Jeremy finds out has been Melissa’s “friend” since she came to college. Needless to say, this threesome doesn’t last long, as Jeremy and Melissa are drawn to each other like the opposite ends of a magnet.
Just as their love is professed, complications arise.
This true faith based film is brought to us by the Erwin Brothers, Andrew and Jon, who also did the 2018 hit “I Can Only Imagine” about country music group Mercy Me. Some may say this is a romantic tragedy, but I say no. It is the story of an innocent first love that is bright and shinning with hope for the future. It is tested by adversity much too soon but by God’s grace, they face the trials together with help from those around them that share a strong faith and the belief in the power of prayer. Jeremy tells Melissa she is like “a bright star in the sky.” But we know the brightest stars also burn out the fastest.
To say “I Still Believe” is a Christian film is an understatement. It is a visual testimony to enduring love, doubtless faith, the strength we receive in a crisis from being around those of like mind, and ultimately, the balm that God’s love can place on a grieving heart.
With all the chaos and doubt surrounding us right now, this was exactly the right film with the right message for my Saturday afternoon at the movies.
"I Still Believe" is rated PG for thematic material.