Following up on the success of God’s Not Dead, Pure Flix delivers Do You Believe? Jonathan M. Gunn directs a stunning ensemble cast through a week in the life of twelve disparate individuals who intersect at the cross of Christ. Fighting shame, grief, fear, and doubt, the characters expose us to the ways that our fragile souls struggle with the world we live in. Well-acted and produced, the film draws a hard line in the sand and asks us its titular question, demanding we answer with our lives.
The Christian version of Crash, Do You Believestars Sean Astin as Dr. Farrell, a cynical, prideful ER doctor who thinks he should get the credit for doing all of God’s work saving people. In his ER, he barks at a struggling nurse, Elena (Valerie Dominguez), whose brother, Carlos (Joseph Julian Soria), crashes at her house while trying to escape his own demons. His post-traumatic stress disorder-related outbursts aggravate an already tense situation with her husband, the EMT Bobby (Liam Matthews). Bobby will stand trial for sharing Jesus with a dying man, up against Farrell’s lawyer wife (Andrea Logan White).
In Dr. Farrell’s hospital, struggling single mother Samantha (Mira Sorvino) works hard to get her daughter Lily (Makenzie Moss) the care she needs. There, recently released convict Joe (Brian Bosworth) befriends the two of them and takes them in, sharing his faith in the process. Joe’s pastor, Matthew (Ted McKinley), is also experiencing a crisis of faith, as his life collides with a gang member (Shwayze), a grieving couple (Lee Majors and Cybil Shepherd), and an unwed, homeless mother, (Madison Pettis). Do You Believe? covers the basics for people in situational crises!
While it was fun to see Majors on screen, the strongest performances were delivered by Moss and Bosworth. The two seemed to have a natural chemistry, and Moss’ youthful enthusiasm stole every scene she was in. Bosworth, as a reformed con playing out the end of his days, provided the most positive example of living a life for Christ in the here and now. While some of the characters accept Christ on screen in death, Joe and Matthew serve up the examples of people whose lives change for the better on a daily, Earthly basis.
There are more than enough plot trails to follow, enough rabbit holes to explore, touching on many scenarios. The life lessons that Do You Believe? presents are applicable to different walks of life and experiences, all pointing toward what it takes for a Christian to actually live a life of faith. The opening frame features James 2:17: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” It’s the thesis of the film, and it plays it out through each character’s decisions and interactions with each other.
The film asks everyone, “do you believe?” and then follows it up by asking, “if you do, how are you showing it?” It’s an ongoing struggle, a battle with the forces of shame, fear, doubt, grief, pride, and anger. Not everyone has “ears to hear,” Joe reminds us, when dealing with the skepticism of Dr. Farrell. But a significant number of characters here are presented as willing to share, regardless of whether their message is received (the first time) or not.
Ultimately, the lives of these characters will converge in a spectacular way, with decisions made and lives altered. For those seeking inspiration, and a reminder that the cross calls us to sacrifice, Do You Believe will push the buttons and leave you reflecting. It’s certainly a film aimed at Christians who need a deeper call to service and evangelism, taking their faith from Sunday through the rest of the week. In the end, the film will have only done its part if it makes you bolder, more grace-filled, and courageous in your faith.