I Still Believe — Movie Review

by KJ Proulx

Brit Robertson and KJ Apa in ‘I Still Believe’ [Credit: Lionsgate]

I’ll just be upfront about this in stating that most films that revolve around faith, having it overpower the rest of the story, usually never work for me. Not to say the thought and care in putting together a nice film wasn’t there though. For this reason alone, I was hesitant about watching I Still Believe, but I’m kind of glad I did. Not only is it one of the better ones out there that focusses heavily on faith, but it was a movie that I wasn’t enjoying at first, eventually winning me over in the end. Unless you’re someone who’s incredibly against religions, I feel that the emotional ride of this movie will please more than a few viewers.

Based on the true story, I Still Believe picks up with Jeremy Camp (K.J. Apa) as he arrives at College for the first time. Being invested in his music, he becomes friends with a popular musician, which in turn leads him to meet Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson). As love blossoms, loss seems imminent as well between these two. Her belief in God and now strongly she talks about faith in her daily conversations were a little heavy-handed to me at first and I was worried about some overly dramatic conclusion, but it ended up just being a raw story in the end.

I’ve been a fan of Britt Robertson since seeing her in films like The First Time or even Tomorrowland, so it came as no surprise to me that she did a terrific job here once again. Who I wasn’t expecting such a great performance out of was K.J. Apa. I’ve seen his really good work on the television series Riverdale and his devoted performance in the film The Hate U Give, but this was actually on another level for him. He was able to dive into this character and deliver some very honest emotion. I will remember this movie for his performance alone.

Directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, this film was very well-made on a technical level as well. The way they were able to bring out these very real performances was very impressive, but I feel that they just had a knack for the material. Their previous works are very similar to stories like this. The camerawork by Kristopher Kimlin was also quite good. This movie has a lot going for it in many regards, but that brings me to my biggest complaint. There is some very bad dialogue periodically throughout this movie. Written by two different people, you could tell that there was more than one voice here. Although not always bad, the dialogue took me out of the film on multiple occasions.

In the end, I Still Believe begins as a film that I felt I was going to despise, simply due to the cheesy nature of it all and the way the characters were interacting. I also felt like I could see the ending coming from a mile away and I was predicting some grande spiritual journey, but it remained tame in that regard. Overall, I would say I ended up liking this movie, which is something I didn't expect to say, even after the first act. Some people may just cringe the whole way through, but I thought it eventually found its footing and I was invested in the final act. Not great, but the emotion is there and I’m sure some viewers will be heavily impacted by it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Check out the trailer below:

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Film Lover First. Critic Second.

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