By: Laci Strouse
As I walked into the movie theatre, I had no idea what to expect. I had no prior knowledge of what this movie would be about. I saw there was a new Christian film out and immediately purchased tickets. After watching the film, I had no regrets.
“Jesus Revolution” was set in the late 1960s in California. The film begins with the main character Greg (Joel Courtney) meeting some private school students. It didn’t take long for them to influence Greg to join their friend group and school. Within this group, Greg got to know Cathe (Anna Grace Barlow.) Their relationship quickly blossomed but was interfered with by each one’s individual search for purpose.
Greg and Cathe are introduced as two troubled teens trying to find their purpose in life. I appreciated the ability to witness both characters’ struggles with fitting in, drugs, and drinking. This showed their flaws and hardships during their early years.
At the same time, another interaction between pastor Chuck Smith’s daughter Jannette and a hippie named Lonnie that she found on the side of a road, played by Ally Ioannides and Jonathan Roumie. They quickly got along and she bought him home to meet her father.
The meeting between Pastor Smith (Kelsey Grammer) and Lonnie served as the major message of the movie. Lonnie represented everyone who was broken and had a troublesome past. Pastor Smith represented the traditional church and righteous believers. This interaction broke generational barriers and normalized welcoming anyone in the church, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. It also served as a hard truth and carried the central theme of welcoming everyone in the church.
Later, this interaction transformed the church and led to its tremendous growth. God used Lonnie and Pastor Smith to start a revival that spread throughout the nation. Many people arrive in California to get baptized and hear Lonnie speak.
This was the point where Greg and Cathe grew weary of their brokenness and joined the hippies in finding God as their source of truth. The movie was worth watching mainly because of this scene. It was a moment of peace and I couldn’t help but smile. I looked over at my family and saw that they too were crying and smiling. It showed Greg’s burdens being washed away as he gave his life to God and went down into the water. I could watch this scene a hundred times and still be left in awe. Yet, the whole movie was just as powerful.
As the film progressed the revival grew even larger, which led Lonnie to struggle with pride. I liked Lonnie from the beginning of the movie. The film showed a once-broken man who later lived wholeheartedly for the Lord. Lonnie was very charming and served as a great father figure for Greg. Powerful scenes are presented, where he preached and healed people through the holy spirit.
Unfortunately, this power lead to pride and he started taking credit for the whole revival. He stole the credit first from Pastor Smith and then ultimately from God. He made the glory more of his own than of God’s.
This showed another important theme in the movie. This theme was to remember when God uses someone, it isn’t about them, it’s about Him. This theme was a hard pill for Lonnie to swallow which causes a rift in many relationships. It can be easy when God works in one’s life to forget it’s coming from Him and not their own good doings. In a way, this humanized Lonnie and showed that he too faced struggles.
To conclude the film the romance blossomed once more between Cathe and Greg. They both grew closer to one another and in their relationships with God. Their character development throughout the movie was drastic and inspiring. Greg started as a broken teen looking for a purpose and later became a key leader in the Jesus Revolution movement.
I highly recommend this movie and it is perfect for any occasion. It’s geared more toward teens and older but my younger brother was still engaged throughout the film. The themes are strong and share powerful messages that can be a hard pill to swallow.
“Jesus Revolution” is now playing in theaters.
Laci Strouse is a freshman Professional Writing and Information Design major as well as a reporter for the Cedars. She enjoys reading Christian Fiction, embroidering, running, and golfing with her brothers.
Images courtesy of Lionsgate